If there is one salad that everybody likes, it’s Caesar’s Salad. The Caesar is the salad for people who are not into salads; it’s got the taste of bacon, the taste of fish and also cheese. At the same time the Romaine lettuce doesn’t have the bitter taste of the greener leafy vegetables while the dressing is beautifully creamy. Everything that can be done to make a salad less like a salad defines the Caesar. In my version I incorporate the super salty slivers of anchovy that often catch you by surprise into the salad dressing itself.
- Romaine Lettuce Hearts (2)
- Cherry Tomatoes (8)
- Bacon (4 rashes)
- Bread (2 Slices)
- Anchovy in Oil (10g)
- Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese (40g)
- Minced Garlic
- Vegetable Oil
- Slice 4 rashes of bacon into 1cm squares. Fry the bacon in a pan to render their oil. Turn off the fire when three quarters of the bits are hard and crispy, allowing the residual heat to brown the remainder. Spoon out the bacon, leaving the oil in the pan.
- Dice 2 slices of bread into 1cm squares. Stir the bread cubes in the pan to soak up the oil from the bacon. To make them into croutons, toast the bread pieces in the toaster oven for 15 min at 120oC to harden them and a further 3 min at 180oC to impart some colour.
- Mash 2 slivers of anchovy in their oil in a mixing bowl. You should end up 2t of anchovy oil suspension. You may need to heat the anchovy in the pan for them to disintegrate – see notes below.
- Peel and mince a few cloves of garlic.
- Add 1t mustard, 2t minced garlic, 2t vinegar and a pinch of sugar to the bowl and mix well.
- Add 4T of mayonnaise and mix well. Then add 3T of vegetable oil 1T at a time, stirring the oil in each time before the next spoon. This is your Caesar’s salad dressing.
- Cut each of the Romaine lettuce hearts into 5 equal sections. Open up the sections into individual pieces and place them in a large salad bowl. Cut each cherry tomato into half and add them to the salad. Spoon in the salad dressing and toss well.
- Separate the salad into plates at this stage if you are serving the salad individually.
- Top off the salad with the bacon bits and croutons.
- Grate your cheese and sprinkle over the salad.
- Finish with some black pepper.
- Anchovy from a can will fall apart easily. Anchovy from a bottle is of a higher quality and requires heating before it will disintegrate into a suspension. I typically just heat the contents of the whole bottle of anchovies in a pan, mash them and pour everything back into the bottle after its cooled. This makes it really convenient to spoon out the anchovy suspension whenever I need it.
- Add 1T of water to the salad dressing if you are not rinsing your lettuce.
- Do not use extra-virgin olive oil as you don’t want the taste of olives in your Caesar’s salad. Use any kind of vegetable oil, or a light olive oil is fine too.
- Follow the sequence given for making the dressing. If you add the oil before the mayonnaise, it will be impossible to get a smooth mixture.