We were recently re-introduced to an old favorite salad of mine, the Caesar Salad. It is one of those recipes, that I occasionally think about and even order at some random Italian restaurant while traveling, but I haven’t made one in forever. Let’s thank Bon Appetite for providing me with the inspiration as one of their Valentine Day’s menu items in February. We made their version for a dinner party and it was a WINNER. Since that evening, I have probably made it every other night and the recipe has evolved to our taste buds.
I have a bit of a rant about Caesar Salads. I was poking around Pinterest, looking for some styling ideas, when I came across a half dozen different versions of this classic salad. Creativity is great, I mean, I really, really love when folks are creative with recipes. What makes me cringe, is when a Classic has been remade and being sold as “skinny” or “low-fat”. When in fact, that new version has twice as many ingredients as a Classic Caesar salad, and the dressings were made with additional ingredients such as “whole fat Greek yogurt” or “soy yogurt or even “coconut cream”. Yes, there are some crazy versions out there. On top of it, the salad is loaded with grilled or fried chicken or steak, avocados, and even bacon bits. I am not sure what you think, but that doesn’t sound too skinny to me!
Now I get it if you are worried about the raw egg. Then leave it out, the dressing will still blend up creamy. Or maybe anchovies aren’t your thing or you are a vegetarian. Then leave them out. It does not make a recipe “skinny” just because there was some added yogurt or soy oy fufu! Skinny is that you don’t eat the entire recipe yourself.
Let’s think about a Classic Caesar Salad recipe for a moment; shall we? The only ingredients that are in this recipe are romaine lettuce (hardly any calories), croutons and some parmesan cheese. The dressing is made with olive oil (good for our bodies), egg yolk, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, garlic (great for our immune systems), Worcestershire sauce and anchovies. If you really want it to be “skinny” why not leave out the croutons or add a slice of toasted baguette.
This recipe for a near Classic Caesar Salad and the only reason it isn’t so classic is that I added Tabasco and capers; is what I consider being real food, and more close to “skinny” than over half of the recipes floating around the internet. I left out the anchovies and added capers for the saltiness, and I added hot sauce, well, because we like it. The pancetta crisps are optional as well as the 6-minute egg – it was mainly added as the garnish, but we also enjoy those ingredients and were making this a main meal so the added protein was perfect.
Welcome to my recipe for a “not skinny” but amazingly delicious Caesar Salad. I hope you enjoy!
Recipe: Caesar Salad
1 egg yolk
1 small shallot, cut in half
1 small garlic clove
1-ounce hard parmesan cheese, plus extra shavings for garnish
7 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, we use Meyer lemons
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce, vegetarian version if you are vegetarian
2 teaspoons capers
6 dashes original Tabasco
1/2 cup good quality olive oil
1 small head of romaine lettuce, washed dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
croutons or slices of toasted baguette
6 slices of pancetta, cooked until golden – optional
2 6-minute egg, cut in half – optional
fresh cracked black pepper
Place all of the dressing ingredients except the olive oil into a blender. Blend until combined; about 2 minutes.
With the blender running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and blend until creamy. This will only take a couple of minutes.
Place the romaine into a serving bowl and drizzle some of the dressing onto the leaves. Gently toss, then add more if you like. If you are using croutons then add now, if not serve the toasted baguette alongside the salad.
Top with the pancetta and the 6-minute eggs if you are using.
Sprinkle with the fresh black pepper.