Weekend Recipe: Classic Caesar Salad

Caesar salads are pretty ubiquitous, but they're not always made "correctly" -- with freshly-made croutons, raw egg, and anchovies. Give it a whirl this weekend with this America's Test Kitchen recipe.

Photo courtesy America's Test KitchenClassic Caesar Salad
Serves 4-6

Croutons
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic paste from 1 medium clove
1/2 - 3/4 loaf ciabatta, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
Salad
3/4 teaspoon garlic paste from 1 large clove
2 - 3 tablespoons juice from 1 to 2 lemons
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
6 anchovy fillets, patted dry with paper towels, minced fine, and mashed to paste with fork (1 tablespoon)
2 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons canola oil
5 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup)
Ground black pepper
2 - 3 romaine hearts, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices, rinsed, and dried very well (8 to 9 lightly pressed cups)

FOR THE CROUTONS: Combine 1 tablespoon oil and garlic paste in small bowl; set aside. Place bread cubes in large bowl. Sprinkle with water and salt. Toss, squeezing gently so bread absorbs water. Place remaining 4 tablespoons oil and soaked bread cubes in 12-inch nonstick skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until browned and crisp, 7 to 10 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat, push croutons to sides of skillet to clear center, add garlic/oil mixture to clearing and cook with residual heat of pan, 10 seconds. Sprinkle with Parmesan; toss until garlic and Parmesan are evenly distributed. Transfer croutons to bowl; set aside.

FOR THE SALAD: Whisk garlic paste and 2 tablespoons lemon juice together in large bowl. Let stand 10 minutes.

Whisk Worcestershire sauce, anchovies, and egg yolks into garlic/lemon juice mixture. While whisking constantly, drizzle canola oil and extra virgin olive oil into bowl in slow, steady stream until fully emulsified. Add 1/2 cup Parmesan and pepper to taste; whisk until incorporated.

Add romaine to dressing and toss to coat. Add croutons and mix gently until evenly distributed. Taste and season with up to additional 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Serve immediately, passing remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan separately.

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About the Author

Katherine's role as the Living editor at KCET.org keeps her running from farms to markets to restaurants to pop-up swaps all over SoCal. She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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