Caesar Salad w/ Herbed Dressing + Garlicky Parmesan Croutons

By George Sabatino

Authors Notes

The romaine in this week’s box screamed Caesar salad to my partner Jessica and inspired her to teach me how her mom always prepared this classic when she was growing up in Italy. Truth be told, Caesar salads are my all time favorite. In this version I really enjoy the addition of roasted garlic and chili flakes to the dressing. If you don’t have white anchovies around you can always sub some fish sauce to taste when making the dressing. My favorite part here though is the buttery cheesy croutons. Pro tip- they are delicious just dipped into the dressing when you have to taste test it during prep.

Serves 4 as an appetizer OR 2 as a entrée  

Ingredients

For The Croutons:

4 tablespoons butter, diced

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 clove garlic, peeled, grated

3 thick slices, day old sourdough, cut into 1” cubes (we used Mighty Bread Co semolina)

1 pinch kosher salt

½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, fresh grated

bunch parsley, flat leaves only, chopped

For The Dressing:

2 ea egg yolk (reserve whites for another use)

1 pinch red chili flake

1 clove garlic, peeled, grated

5 cloves roasted garlic

cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed

2 pinches kosher salt

3 ea white anchovy fillets

cup EVOO

½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, fresh grated

bunch parsley, flat leaves and stems, chopped

 

To Finish The Dish:

1 large romaine lettuce head, cored, halved lengthwise, rinsed, patted dry

2 pinches kosher salt

4 ea white anchovy fillets (optional)

To taste parmigiano reggiano, fresh grated

To taste black pepper, fresh cracked

 

Method + Assembly

Croutons Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. In a large saute pan melt the butter and olive oil over medium low heat. Add the garlic as soon as the butter is melted, add the bread cubes and season with salt. Toss well to make sure everything is fully coated in fat. 
  3. Toss in the cheese and parsley then transfer the pan to the oven and allow to toast for 5-8 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. 
  4. Check seasoning and adjust if needed. Turn out onto a lined tray or plate to cool.

Dressing Method:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor combine the yolks, chili flake, garlics, lemon juice, salt, anchovies and run the machine until well combined. Scrape down the sided with a rubber spatula.
  2. With the machine running SLOWLY drizzle in the EVOO to form an emulsification and allow the dressing to thicken. Add the fresh grated cheese and parsley then pulse a few times to incorporate. 
  3. Check seasoning and adjust if needed. Set aside.

Assembly

    1. Place the lettuce in a large mixing bowl and season with salt. Pour in dressing to your desired amount then toss the lettuce gently to dress evenly.
    2. Divide the dressed lettuce between 4 salad bowls then scatter croutons around and on top of each bowl- follow your heart and most likely use them all!
    3. Top each salad with a white anchovy fillet if using, I like to break them in half.
    4. Lastly, grate fresh cheese and crack black pepper over each of the portions.
    5. Serve immediately.

George Sabatino is a Philadelphia chef who is dedicating his career to developing vegetable focused dishes, with special attention to sourcing locally and treating all ingredients (and their journeys from farm to table) with respect and purpose.