Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing and Croutons

I wanted to cook a nice dinner for my husband tonight. He loves steak and Caesar salad so I figured that would be a good choice. We went to the Bahamas last October and had a table-side Caesar salad at one of the restaurants in our hotel. It was by far, the greatest Caesar salad I have ever eaten! It was so fresh - they hand mixed all of the ingredients in a large wooden bowl, including the anchovies and raw egg. I doubted that I could ever create anything even close to comparable to that salad, but decided to give it a go…

Being a bit of a pansy, I wanted to avoid using a raw egg in my recipe. I ended up using this recipe on yummly.com with a couple changes:
1/2 cup olive oil (divided)
3 garlic cloves (crushed divided)
1/2 tsp kosher salt (coarse)
White bread (crust removed cut into cubes)
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan (cheese)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 anchovy fillets
1 1/2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 romaine lettuce (large head, torn into bite size pieces)
*see site for directions
I subbed the following in the dressing recipe:
·         Instead of the mayonnaise, I used Lemonaise which is great on sandwiches too! Much better for you than regular mayonnaise since it doesn’t have soybean oil and is lower in fat.
·         I subbed the Dijon mustard with something we had handy in the fridge, a low-fat Dijon salad dressing.
·         Instead of romaine, I used a salad mix I got at the farmers market today from Beaverdam Creek Farm.
I also made the croutons (used sourdough instead of white bread). For both recipes, I used olive oil from Whole Foods from the big vats of oil that you dispense yourself. A little expensive, but was good for the dressing.
I started with the sourdough bread. 

I removed the outside crust from the bread. This pulled off very easily. I cut the soft white inside part of the bread into small rectangular shapes.

Next, I chopped up fresh garlic. 

 Then I mixed in salt & pepper and olive oil with the fresh garlic.

I coated the bread with the olive oil mixture, then placed it on a baking sheet.

It baked for about 15 minutes – I taste tested the croutons along the way to see when they were done. They came out with a nice toasty/crispy texture. 

Next came the Caesar dressing. I mixed all of the ingredients into a food processor, including two of these guys:

And some of this… plus everything else in the ingredient list… 

I blended the dressing for about a minute in the food processor. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be.

The croutons cooled off while I waited for my husband to get home. Once he got home, I reheated the croutons for a bit before putting them on the salad.

I mixed the dressing with the lettuce, put the warm croutons on, then topped off with some shaved parmesan cheese, and viola!

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