It’s September and while we all know that salad season is winding down to make way for chilis and soups and all the rib-sticking goodness, I’m giving you this salad because really it’s a salad for all seasons.
Salads are seasonal; the spring varieties tout peas and asparagus with fresh mint thrown in; summer adds in some peaches and berries. Fall and winter ones gets heartier with apples, nuts, darker greens and a heaviness that summer salad tend to lack. Then, there’s the Caesar salad.
Winter or spring, summer or fall, a Caesar salad seems to have no allegiance. Romaine doesn’t scream heavy or light one way or the other. Parmesan is always in fashion, as are crunchy, buttery, homemade croutons. Homemade Caesar is neither heavy nor goopy, but has a seriousness that works through colder times. Meat or no meat, it satisfied veggie-vores and carnivores alike.
This version is a classic and a favorite in the Buddha household. Baba in particular loved it, and it was a standard when a special occasion for him rolled around, served alongside steak and some fettuccine alfredo, his favorites and a stark departure from the rice and dahl that otherwise sat at his side of the table.
What makes this one good? Well, the homemade dressing for one. This was Mom’s long before it became cool to make your own, and while you may snub and grimace at the anchovy paste, do it because chances are, your favorite dressing has it in there, too.
Next, homemade croutons! Biscuit turned me on to making my own with the panzanella a few years ago and the method stays the same here. Salt and pepper makes them taste a bit like bagged croutons but oh so much better.
Finally, get you some good Parmesan. Not even Ina skimps on that.
Viola! The perfect salad for your perfect season, whichever one that may be.
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp anchovy paste
- 1tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp dry mustard
- 1/8 pepper
- 1 egg
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 thick cut slices good bread
- 1 TB salted butter, or more as needed
- 1 head romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh shredded Parmesan
- Place all the ingredients, save the olive oil, into a blender. Puree until all is blended and stream in the olive oil. Keep blending until dressing is thicker and emulsified.
- Butter both sides of the bread and pop directly onto the rack of a 450° oven until golden on both sides, cool so you don’t burn your fingers, and cut into 1” cubes.
- Place the lettuce in a large bowl. Add the cheese and drizzle the dressing over as needed.