I love Caesar salad, but I had never made it at home. A while back I picked up a jar of sardines in olive oil with the intention of actually making a Caesar salad and then as I am prone to do I got side tracked. I put the bottle in the pantry and promptly forgot it was even there as it got pushed toward the back of the abyss.
The other day when I was pulling out ingredients to make Jamison another loaf of the gluten-free bread that we use for his sandwiches in his lunch at work I came across that jar and decided it was high time to get around to trying my hand at a Caesar salad.
There is some debate about what should or should not be in Caesar Salad dressing. Some use Worcestershire Sauce, others go for anchovies, some use vinegar, others lemon juice. The traditional Caesar consists of Romaine lettuce, croÃ»tons, Parmesan and the dressing, but many variations have popped up over the years including grilled chicken or shrimp.
With this version I wanted to make it a bit more substantial that just lettuce, but I also wanted to make it vegetarian as well, but realized with the anchovies that wasn’t possible. There are vegan versions out there. I haven’t tried any of them, though I do find them intriguing.) The result was perfect! This was most definitely a keeper!
What You’ll Need:
2 portabella mushrooms, sliced, grilled and cooled
2 cloves of garlic, roasted (Note: The roasted garlic gives the dressing an overall mellow garlic flavor. If you don’t want to roast the garlic then you can just add 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic, but the garlic flavor will be more powerful overall. To roast the garlic, put a couple of cloves of garlic in a dish covered and bake at 425 F until soft…The toaster oven is perfect for this!)
2 egg yolks
4-6 anchovies, chopped fine
1/4 teaspoon of ground mustard or 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard (Note: The mustard gives it a kick of heat. Use less if you’re not a fan of a little bite.)
The juice of 1 lemon
1/4-1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil (Note: Use less if you like a thicker dressing, use more if you like slightly thinner.)
Parmesan cheese, grated
3-5 cups of Romaine lettuce, chopped
Sea Salt Croutons
Slice portabella mushrooms into strips. Brush a grill pan with olive oil and cook, flipping once, until mushrooms are tender. Set aside to cool.
In the jar of a blender or the bowl of a food processor, process egg yolks until slightly thick. (Note: If you have an issue with raw eggs you can use the pasteurized version.) Once eggs are slightly thick add garlic, sardines, ground mustard or Dijon, lemon juice and olive oil and process until smooth. Set aside.
Place place lettuce leaves into a large bowl and pour dressing over the top of the lettuce. Toss to coat. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese and then toss again.
Add lettuce to a plate and top with grilled mushrooms and croutons. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 large salads or 4 side salads.
Notes: As I mentioned above you could use grilled chicken or shrimp in place of the mushrooms. This is not really a left over type of dish…You’ll want to eat it immediately.