Gotta love Emily and her recipe for Hail, Caesar! Salad. I love me some Caesar. And you know how fond I am of exclamation marks. Take it away Emily! [And make sure to check out her site: The Angus Index!]
Greetings Amateur Gourmet — longtime listener, first-time caller here. :) I see you’re willing to post NON-digitally pictured recipes, and that’s a good thing, for while I’ve served the Hail, Caesar! Salad many, many times, to throngs of happy, sated guests, I’ve never taken a picture of it. Trust me, it’s so good it all gets eaten before there’s a chance to snap a picture. Really!
A little background — an old friend’s mom served the original Hail, Caesar! at a family gathering, and refused to divulge its creamy secrets. Thus I pumped my friend until she gave up the goods: it’s from a recipe in Gourmet magazine, aha! I’ve tinkered with it over time, and it had become the definitive creamy caesar salad, with or without chicken/rock shrimp/tofu chunks/etc., even though it contains NO raw eggs or anchovies.
Hail, Caesar! Salad
(Serves 6 — doubles, triples easily)
1 pkg. romaine hearts (3 hearts)
1 small baguette
4 or 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
3/4 c. mayonnaise
3/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1 c. fresh grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. salt, fresh pepper to taste, plus S&P for croutons
3/4 c. good olive oil, plus more for croutons
1. Preheat oven to 350. Slice baguette into 1″ cubes. Spread cubes in a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle liberally with olive oil, salt and pepper — or other seasonings to your taste (paprika, garlic powder, oregano, eye of newt, etc.). Toast in the oven until golden brown and crisp, about 25 minutes. Cool.
2. Meanwhile, rip up the romaine lettuce into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. (Some traditionalists serve whole romaine spears with a caesar dressing, but with this version it would make a big mess — it’s your call).
3. In a blender, chop the garlic cloves roughly. Add the mayo, lemon juice, parm, Worcestershire, salt, and a few grinds of fresh pepper; blend well. Carefully open the top of the blender while running on LOW, and pour in the olive oil VERY slowly, in a thin stream — this will emulsify the dressing into a creamy liquid. Now, the tasting — take a crouton from your baking sheet, dip it into the dressing, and taste. It should have a powerful lemony, savory, salty taste — if you taste too much oil, add more lemon juice and salt, or another clove of garlic. Play around with it until you’re licking the sides of the blender in delight, and crying “Hail, Caesar!” (hence the name).
4. Add the croutons to the salad bowl, and drizzle all with dressing. Add a few handfuls of grated parm, toss to coat, and serve. There should be enough to have each piece coated lightly with dressing. If you like, you can serve grilled chicken, shrimp, scallops, tofu, or other protein on top. If there’s any dressing left, it makes a decadent dip. This salad does NOT store or travel well — assemble it just before serving. Enjoy!