A classic Caesar is a wonderful thing; a poor copy can be as sad as a baby with a really bad cold. It needs three key ingredients: crunchy romaine, a good dressing and freshly made croutons.
This recipe calls for raw egg yolks. If you are concerned about the risk of salmonella, buy pasteurized eggs, available in select supermarkets.
Servings: 4 - 6 first-course
- 1 large head romaine lettuce or 2 smaller ones (about 7 1/2 ounces total), leaves washed and spin-dried
- 2 to 3 slices day-old bread, preferably white
- 1 to 3 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter
- 2 to 4 large anchovy fillets
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon medium-strong Dijon mustard, such as Maille brand
- 8 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon (1 tablespoon), or more to taste
- 1 medium clove garlic, crushed
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
- Salt (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper
Place the greens in ice water to crisp up while you prepare the dressing. If the water is not cold, toss in some ice cubes, but do that before adding the greens, or rinse the ice cubes in water first. (Used straight from the freezer, they might slightly burn the greens.)
Line a plate with several layers of paper towels. Cut the bread into 1/4- to 1/3-inch pieces (with or without the crust).
Melt the butter (to taste) in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the bread pieces and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until crunchy. Be careful not to crowd the skillet; you might have to do this in 2 batches. Transfer to the paper-towel-lined plate to drain.
Use a spoon to crush the anchovy fillets (to taste) in the bottom of a salad bowl. Add the egg yolks, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and garlic; mix well. Stir in the oil, then add two-thirds of the grated cheese; mix well to form a thickened dressing. Taste, and adjust the seasoning, adding salt, if desired, the pepper to taste or lemon juice as needed.
Dry the greens well, either using a salad spinner or patting the leaves with a clean dish towel. Transfer them to the salad bowl. Toss to coat evenly with the dressing, then divide among individual plates. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and the croutons.
From Gastronomer Andreas Viestad.
Tested by Dean Felten.
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