Recipe by Barnaby Dorfman
Invented by Cesar Cardini in Tijuana, Mexico during prohibition, this is one of my favorite recipes. Though many spell it Caeser's Salad, I prefer the Spanish spelling becuase it was invented in Mexico by an Italian immigrant. A lot of Caeser/Cesar's salad recipes get overly complicated, the magic of this recipe lies in its simplicity.
- 1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1⁄2 cups grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons anchovy paste
- 2 romaine lettuce hearts
- 2 cups homemade croutons
Directions See How It's Made
- Croutons: This is one of the keys to this recipe. Start with about 1/2 loaf of a crusty Italian bread with a large cell-structure, e.g. big holes. I really like to use Pugliese or Ciabatta. Cut the bread into cubes of about 1 inch square and lay out onto a a cookie sheet and toast in the oven, preferably under a broiler. Turn the croutons about half-way through to ensure both sides get toasted. The most important thing here is to not over-toast -- you want croutons that are crunchy on the outside and still soft in the center.
- Chop the Romaine hearts into sections about 1 inch by the width of each leaf.
- Dressing: Squeeze the juice of the lemon into a mixing bowl and add the anchovy paste. I know some people are squeamish about anchovy paste, but the taste really isn't strong here. Ive served this to anchovy haters who loved it. Finally, the paste serves as an important emulsifier in this recipe. Using a whisk slowly drizzle the olive oil into the lemon-anchovy mixture while whisking, all the ingredients should come together in a thick, greenish brown dressing.
- Assembly: Place romaine in a large salad bowl. Add still warm croutons on top of lettuce. Pour grated cheese on top of pile and then drizzle dressing on top of whole. Toss and serve.