When David Hagedorn was growing up, olive oil was not a staple in his house, so the dressing and croutons for his mother's Caesar salad were made with vegetable oil. Feel free to use olive oil or a combination of the two, to suit your taste.
Taking the time to make croutons in a saute pan is worthwhile; you don't wind up with the hard nuggets you get from drying out bread cubes in the oven or, worse yet, buying prepared ones from the grocery store.
This recipe calls for a raw pasteurized egg, to reduce the risk of salmonella.
Make Ahead: The croutons can be made a day in advance and stored in an airtight container. The dressing can be made a few days in advance.
- For the croutons
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
- 1 large clove garlic, crushed
- 4 slices soft Italian bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 cups)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the dressing
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- 4 anchovy fillets
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- Freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 lemon (2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard
- 1 large pasteurized raw egg (see headnote)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- For the salad
- 4 romaine hearts, cored, leaves torn crosswise, approximately into thirds (about 28 ounces total)
- About 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish
- Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish
For the croutons: Heat the oil in a medium nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the garlic and cook just long enough for it to flavor the oil; remove and discard just as it starts to brown. Add the bread cubes to the pan, stirring to coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often, until the cubes are well browned and toasted. Remove from the heat.
For the dressing: Combine the garlic, anchovies, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, powdered mustard, egg, sugar and pepper and oil in a blender or mini food processor. Blend until smooth, adding the grated cheese at the end. The yield is 1 cup.
To assemble the salad: Combine the croutons and all of the dressing in a large salad bowl. Add the romaine leaves; use tongs or salad utensils to toss the salad, coating the lettuce evenly. Divide among individual plates. Top each portion with some grated cheese and pepper; serve immediately.
From Sourced columnist David Hagedorn.
Tested by David Hagedorn.
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