Thursday, June 17, 2010

Almost Authentic Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons

I wasn't about to lose another head and a half of romaine lettuce to the refrigerator this week. Ice crystals have started forming on the romaine again. Interestingly, the more delicate lettuces don't seem to be having a problem with freezing and my refrigerator seems to be harboring secret cold zones. What better way to save your farm-fresh lettuce from undelicious destruction than to make a Caesar salad? I'm not one to discriminate: I used the whole (medium-sized) head of lettuce, not just the heart. I'm a huge fan of garlic, so I add the smashed cloves to the salad after they've done their job flavoring the croutons, but most people would probably remove them.

2 cups day-old bread, sliced into crouton-sized pieces (I used a sourdough boule)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp coarse kosher salt
1 egg
1 head romaine lettuce, washed, dried thoroughly, and chopped
4 anchovy fillets packed in oil, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place bread in a single layer in a baking dish and bake at 350F until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, smash garlic cloves and place them in olive oil with salt. Remove bread from oven and place in large saute pan. Drizzle 4 teaspoons of the olive oil over bread and add smashed garlic cloves to pan. Saute over medium heat until bread is golden brown and garlic begins to soften. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. When water is boiling, add egg and coddle for 1 minute, then run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
Place lettuce in a large bowl. Add remaining olive oil and toss to coat. Add anchovies, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and egg and toss until creamy. Add croutons, cheese and black pepper, toss, and serve immediately.

Serves 2-3, but I definitely ate the entire thing in one sitting (um, yeah, that's a million calories from olive oil. Plus bread. And cheese. And an egg...). But I really did walk 8.8 miles today according to Google Maps.

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