Caesar Salad (Table For Two with A Side of Summer Breezes)

June 20, 2018
Caesar Salad (Table For Two with A Side of Summer Breezes) - Even those among us who think "ew salad" can't resist the creamy, cheesy powers of the Caesar

“The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook”     ~ Julia Child

Caesar Salad (Table For Two with A Side of Summer Breezes) - Even those among us who think "ew salad" can't resist the creamy, cheesy powers of the Caesar

Some days, the only thing that sounds good is a salad

And sometimes, those some days are every day, especially in the middle of June when the weather in Iowa has been oscillating between unseasonably hot and heavy rain (with hail!).  Around our house, these are the kinds of days we've been having

Salad days, or sort of

— —

Regular readers have realized by this point that we eat a lot of salad at our house.

Between the two of us, we could easily justify a larger than average garden.  In fact, one of the first meals we ever shared was a salad .. of kale, wheat berries, cranberries, with a warm baguette and a disk of Mt Tam on the side.

It's become a regular habit ever since

I realized the other day that most of the time during the summer, we don't cook together as much.  Instead, we assemble.  This could be a bit disconcerting for two people who claim to be decent cooks, but really,  it isn't so bad.  Come summer, food is best with minimal fussing, anyway, and no matter the time of year, a good salad is nothing to scoff at

Caesar Salad (Table For Two with A Side of Summer Breezes) - Even those among us who think "ew salad" can't resist the creamy, cheesy powers of the Caesar

For the past several days, we've been letting our salad tendency run amok

My husband was traveling, and after he returned, we decided some yard work was in order.  The weatherman pulled out all of the stops as far as sunshine was concerned.  Sweaty, dirty, and after a cool shower, it was the sort of summer's evening that was made for salad and beer on the back deck

— —

And so we answered with a standby salad that's been in our repertoire for a while

It couldn't be simpler: long leaves of romaine, crumbly croutons, and shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano.  The dressing, too, couldn't be easier .. garlic and anchovies, parmesan, lemon juice, and red wine vinegar.  But from there, it's all alchemy.  Instead of mayo, which is common variation, this version uses eggs, which is a bit more traditional but just as easy

What results is bright with a kick, a spark that will liven up romaine's cool, watery crunch

All told, on a warm summer's evening, this salad is almost as refreshing as a dip in the pool .. cold, a little puckery, creamy, and crisp.  With minimal assembly required, I'm sure we'll continue with our Caesar bender

I see no good reason to stop

Caesar Salad (Table For Two with A Side of Summer Breezes) - Even those among us who think "ew salad" can't resist the creamy, cheesy powers of the CaesarCaesar Salad (Table For Two with A Side of Summer Breezes) - Even those among us who think "ew salad" can't resist the creamy, cheesy powers of the Caesar

A few notes about the recipe

The original calls for anchovies packed in salt, although they were hard to come by at our local grocery.  Instead, I used the best oil-packed that I could find, rinsed them well and dried them on paper towels.  And sprinkled with some salt .. about a three-fingers pinch worth

Be sure to dry the romaine leaves as well as you're able as the dressing will cling better

A friend taught me a great tip for applying thick dressings to whole leaves of romaine.  She'd slide on a pair of latex gloves, spoon some dressing into the bowl of lettuce and use her hands to gently rub dressing on to each leaf.  No worries if you don't use gloves, you just might smell a bit garlicky for a while

Enjoy!

xoxo

~ Adapted from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers

4.9 from 25 reviews
Zuni Cafe's Caesar Salad
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Croutons
  • 4-5 oz. of day-old artisan bread, cut into ½ inch cubes (gluten-free if you're avoiding gluten)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • fine grain sea salt

  • Dressing
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  • 6-9 anchovy fillets, mashed (~ 1½ Tbsp minced)
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 2 large cold eggs
  • About ½ ounce grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (the juice from about 1½ lemons)
  • fine grain sea salt

  • Salad
  • 2 large or 3 medium heads of romaine lettuce (you'll want around 1½ pounds of usable leaves)
Instructions
  1. Croutons
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 deg F
  3. In a medium bowl toss the bread cubes with olive oil and lightly season with salt.
  4. Toss again to make sure each crouton is evenly coated before placing the croutons on a sheet pan. Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes.
  5. Check for doneness - you're going for something crisp on the outside with a slightly tender on the inside.
  6. Remove the croutons from the oven and set aside

  7. Prep the Romaine
  8. Meanwhile, remove and discard any brown or leathery leaves from the romaine, keeping only the best whole leaves.
  9. Trim the bottom of the leaves before washing and drying them
  10. Dry the leaves with a spinner, wrap the greens in paper towels and store in the fridge until you are ready to serve

  11. Dressing
  12. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, oil, anchovies, and garlic
  13. Add the eggs, a few sprinkles of cheese and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Whisk until completely emulsified.
  14. Add the lemon juice, making sure to strain out any seeds before adding to the dressing. Whisk again
  15. Taste the dressing by itself and then with a leaf of lettuce (or a crouton, if you'd like)
  16. Adjust the flavors as needed
  17. (You'll have around 1½ cups of dressing)

  18. Assemble and Serve
  19. Place the romaine in a large salad bowl
  20. Add most of the dressing, folding and tossing gently until every leaf is coated (add more dressing if needed)
  21. Dust with most of the remaining parmesan, add most of the croutons and toss again
  22. To serve, lay out large cold plates, then layer in larger, then medium and then small leaves of the dressed romaine on each plate.
  23. Add the last splash of dressing to the remaining croutons before evenly distributing them on the plates.
  24. Add a last dusting of cheese to each
  25. Serve
 

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44 Comments

  • Reply Flyingkids June 21, 2018 at 7:20 am

    This looks so good! I love your recipes. They all seem delicious!

  • Reply Hannah June 21, 2018 at 8:58 am

    This is not a comment on this post so much as a book recommendation (if you don’t already know about this one): Hidden Nature by Alys Fowler. It might only be available in the UK at the moment, but I think it’s one you’d want to seek out. Her passion for plants mirrors yours for food, and she has been on a similar personal journey. I just love your blog — all the best to you.

  • Reply Alli Smith June 21, 2018 at 9:53 am

    There’s nothing quite like a large, delicious salad on a hot summer day. I can’t seem to get enough fresh green salads during the summer months and I’ll add your Ceasar salad to my menu this week.

  • Reply candy June 21, 2018 at 10:06 am

    We eat a ton of salads in the summer time and love finding new ways to make salad. The dressings we like to make from scratch and eat fresh so this is perfect.

  • Reply Melissa Chapman June 21, 2018 at 11:05 am

    Salads this time of year are so perfect cool refreshing and light. A caesar salad is always a favorite and the dressing is what makes it so good.

  • Reply Tammy June 21, 2018 at 11:56 am

    There is nothing better than a good Ceaser Salad. Its a fav in our home

  • Reply Ann June 21, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    I often feel the same way in the summer. It’s too hot to slave over a hot stove or heat up the house with the oven!

  • Reply Amalia June 21, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    I have the same habit, me and my husband and Caesar salad is our favorite for most of the summer! Always fresh and delicious!

  • Reply Karlyn June 21, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    I bet you’re extremely healthy. I wish I could have more salad days but sometimes it’s just because I have no control. Rubbing dressing onto the leaves seems a lot more work but I wonder how much better it will taste though!

  • Reply Elizabeth O June 21, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Your recipes always looks so delicious, you are a wonderful cook. This is such a lovely summery recipe that is sure to be a big hit.

  • Reply Amber June 21, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    I just love a good caesar salad. It’s one of my absolute favorites. I admit, when I make it, it comes in a kit in a bag. This would taste SO much better.

  • Reply Komal June 21, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    First of all I love that Julia child’s quote. Second, I am a huge fan of using eggs over mayo. Gives it more flavor and freshness

  • Reply Brandy June 21, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    I have never made a caesar salad at home but admit I order it at restaurants often. I’ll have to give your recipe a try because I just love salads during the summer season.

  • Reply Sara June 21, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    This salad looks so good right now. I love to eat salads in the middle of the day.

  • Reply Roch June 21, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    I’m not usually a fan of salads but with berries and kale plus cheese, I imagine it’s a comfort dish that can also help in detox. Salads can be fun!

  • Reply Tasheena June 21, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    This salad looks delicious! Would be perfect to make for a nice pinic or when I have family over.

  • Reply Pam June 21, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    We love eating salads during the summer. They’re just so light and refreshing, especially in this heat.

  • Reply Cristina June 21, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    I’ve been reading your stunning blog for quite a while but have never left a comment. Your writing reminds me of everything that I love about food and also about life. You inspire me so much so thanks to you!

  • Reply Trina June 21, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    This salad looks amazing, perfect for the summer weather. I love eating salads every day during the hotter months.

  • Reply Suchi June 21, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    There is nothing better than a good Ceaser Salad. Gonna try this at home!

  • Reply Terri June 21, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    We purchase anchovy paste at our favorite gourmet food store. That way we always have it on hand. The salad looks incredible. Next time you make it, let me know, I’ll be right over. 🙂

  • Reply Dee June 22, 2018 at 1:11 am

    I didn’t know anchovies go to the Cesar salad but it makes is even more desirable. I was looking for ideas for my party so maybe I try your salad. Thank you for sharing

  • Reply Melanie June 22, 2018 at 2:20 am

    I am a big salad fan. This one looks light and tasty. I think anchovies make a great addition to a dressing as they add so much flavour.

  • Reply Angela June 22, 2018 at 4:59 am

    No matter what time of year, no one can say no to a good Ceasar salad. Didn’t know you can put anchovies but it sounds like a great idea and a tasty one too.

  • Reply Melanie June 22, 2018 at 5:30 am

    I love a yummy Ceasar salad. they are always so fresh, crisp and yummy. Ideal side, in the summer, to a hot bbq too x

  • Reply Brit June 22, 2018 at 6:45 am

    Mmmm – if I could eat a caesar salad every day I would!! This looks soo yummy + crisp!

  • Reply Carol June 22, 2018 at 7:40 am

    Perfection! I eat salad a LOT during the summer because it doesn’t heat up the kitchen and it’s super easy to make. It’s fun to try different dressings as well. I enjoy it, a little too much, I’m afraid. I’d love to try this one!

  • Reply Anosa June 22, 2018 at 7:50 am

    This is one of our best friend in terms of salad. So healthy and easy to do as well. Perfect for any season. I guess I need to try this recipe so add some twist.

  • Reply Vyjay Rao June 22, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Summers are quite hot where we stay. So salads happen to form a major part of our meals. They are light and easy to make also. Your version of Caesar salad looks really promising. Will try with our own twists, we do add a bit of spice.

  • Reply chubskulit rose June 22, 2018 at 8:40 am

    I like how light this salad is, my kind of food! I am not much into cheese in a salad but this looks so good. I love nuts in a salad though.

  • Reply Tammy June 22, 2018 at 11:52 am

    I just dug deep into your archives to find a chocolate chip cookie recipe I recalled making. For some reason, our family cannot agree on cookies, but the New York Times recipe you adapted made everyone happy. Sifting through several years of blogs to find the recipe made me realize what an incredibly complex, rich, delicious, wondrous story you have already lived!

  • Reply Dominique June 22, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    I just LOVE your writing and sentiments and of course, recipes!

  • Reply Dalene June 22, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    I love how salads can be quick to prepare before I have such yummy crunchy dishes in my mouth. Anyway, Caesar salad looks as yummy as the name; I love the dressing and the serving even more!
    Delicious!

  • Reply Leah June 22, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    I bet this is so good! Caesar salad is one of my favorite kinds of salads.

  • Reply EscapeWriters June 23, 2018 at 6:13 am

    Mostly not eating so much spicy recipes at summer …don’t know why but would like to eat some fresh and less spicy food in hot days…salads are great…and, of course, you just give a great recipe to make at home as always…thanks..love your recipes.

  • Reply Jennifer June 23, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    It looks so so good! And I love that you didn’t chop the lettuce up into small pieces. I like them as leaves. So pretty!

  • Reply Di Hickman June 23, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    Salads are great in summer. We all crave light and watery foods to beat the heat!

  • Reply Sayanti June 24, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    If we weren’t both heterosexual women and already married I’d get down on my knee and propose to you because in addition to my unspeakable affection for Happy Joes, oh my gawd do I love taco pizza. Really. I absolutely love it.

  • Reply Mel June 28, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    I love everything about a Caesar salad: the crunchy Romaine salad, the croutons, the creamy salad dressing… It’s one of my favourite things to eat. Great recipe, and your photos are beautiful!

  • Reply Wendy July 8, 2018 at 9:05 am

    I’m glad you posted this. Saw the empty(ish) plate on Instagram. And thought, hot damn, we’ve been left in the cold on this recipe. Except a few hours later we weren’t.

  • Reply Renata July 8, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    As usual, I don’t even know what I love more – the atmospheric story or the easy recipe. The way you describe how your husband comes in from the garden….in a movie I see Meryl Streep in a checkered shirt washing the salad leaves….wiping a loose strand of hair with her sleeve. Of course, the man in this scenario would not be your husband…. 😀

  • Reply Kacie July 8, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    This looks like a scrumptious salad but I am mad on mayo so I might have to add a little squirt 🙂

  • Reply Cristina July 9, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    It’s boiling here in London at the moment and all I can eat is salad! Caesar is my favourite but I’ve never tried to make the dressing from scratch before, let’s give this a go 🙂

  • Reply Melinda July 26, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Caesar is my favorite salad! I love it both in classical form, and do improvisation with dressing. Your salad looks very tasty!

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