I May Not Watch Rome, But I Make A Mean Caesar

There was a time I carried a Palm Pilot—back when I went to law school and I wanted my life mapped out for me. I had my schedule, I had my phone numbers: it was all very formal. I hated it. I have friends and people in my life who must schedule everything, who map their lives out to the tiniest detail and find that very rewarding. Not me. I like chaos. [For reference: see messy apartment, messy desk, messy brain.] [Actually: messy website! (but that’s being remedied)]

But if there’s one thing I wish I had a Palm Pilot for it’s recipes. I’d love to carry a million recipes in my pocket so that when I go to the grocery store, like I did tonight, I could see what looks good and find a recipe to match it. Alas: I have no Palm Pilot, I have no million recipes, and so I have to rely on that most ancient form of Palm Pilot: my brain.

Standing in Citarella tonight I had a revelation: “I want a Caesar salad,” said a voice in my head. Suddenly The Barefoot Contessa’s recipe, which I’ve never made, came into my head. I knew what i needed. The most basic things to buy when making Caesar are simple: garlic, anchovies, and Romaine lettuce. Everything else you probably have at home. And then there’s the extra Contessa stuff: sliced pancetta [4 thick slices] and cherry tomatoes. Check and check.

At home, preheat your oven to 400. Put the cherry tomatoes (about 1 carton) on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes until soft.

Then deal with the pancetta. Cut it up into 1/2 inch cubes and cook in a skillet on medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Now for the salad. This is the fun part. It involves a raw egg. I separated the egg first and put the yolk in a bowl and left it out for a while to come to room temperature.

When it’s at room temperature, put it into a food processor with 2 tsps Dijon mustard, 2 cloves of garlic chopped (I used 3, I like it garlicky), 8 to 10 anchovy fillets, 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons) [I only had 1 lemon and it was fine], 2 tsps kosher salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper.


You blend that until smooth then down the feed tube slowly pour 1 1/2 cups good mild olive oil. It’ll make a dressing. Then add 1/2 cup freshly grated Paremsan and pulse 3 times.

Ok, so in a bowl add sliced Romaine lettuce [she likes them cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch slices] and enough dressing to “moisten well.” Whoah. She says to add 1 cup of grated Paremsan and toss. I forgot to do that. I wish I would’ve seen that, I had a lot of leftover Parmesan. Anyway. Divide lettuce between plates and sprinkle with the Pancetta and roasted tomatoes. Or put it in the bowl like this. I also added croutons.

Tell me this doesn’t make you swoon:


It’s an awesome Caesar. I recommend it. And if you watch “Rome” (which I don’t, though I hear I should) it’s probably a great thing to make for a “Rome” party. You can wear a toga. And then kill a lot of people. Enjoy!

3 thoughts on “I May Not Watch Rome, But I Make A Mean Caesar”

  1. Mmm, that looks delicious indeed!

    I don’t mean to detract at all from your excellent work, but allow me to point out that Rome and togas (and certainly killing people) are not related to Caesar Salads at all! They’re named after the guy who invented them, the chef at an Italian restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, named Caesar Cardini. Bless his soul for bringing us this wonderful, if confusingly named, salad!

  2. since you mentioned a messy website, and I forgot to comment when you were taking advice a few weeks ago, I would like to suggest that you add a search feature to your site. Your archives and categories are so long that some of them time out while loading. Having a search feature would allow people to type in a restaurant name and get the results super fast without having to look through everything (not that we mind a refresher, I’m just saying). Anyway, you can do this very easily through your google adds. Just a thought.

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