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!

The Bowl That Comes With A Recipe (Summer Nectarine and Arugula Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette)

On a pre-lunch walk the other day, I passed Fishs Eddy. According to their website, Fishs Eddy “specializes in American flatware.” That’s a very formal way of saying they sell funky and fun dishes and plates and spoons and bowls. Some are cheap, some are expensive, but it’s always a treat to go browse around. I already have three bowls from there and one large charger type plate that I usually use to showcase the food I make for this site. Anyway, in the window of Fishs Eddy was this bowl:

Isn’t this a fun bowl? As you can see I bought it. But I didn’t just buy it because it’s funky and blue and ceramic. I bought it because above the bowl in the window was a recipe. A recipe for a summer salad of (you already know but I’ll repeat it): arugula, nectarines, raspberries and walnuts with a raspberry vinaigrette.

I had an index card in my pocket (don’t ask) and I copied down the recipe from the window. Then I purchased the bowl. It was $15 but I plan to get a lot of use out of it.

Then I made my way to the Union Square Farmer’s Market and bought all the ingredients that I didn’t already have. That amounted to: 1 2/3 cups arugula (or torn assorted greens), 1 nectarine (I bought two) and raspberries.

At home, I followed the recipe’s advice and made dressing in a jar. Only I didn’t have raspberry vinegar so I subbed balsamic vinegar. It worked fine. I also doubled the recipe because I like lots of dressing.

So here’s what goes in the jar (this is the not doubled version):

4 tsps olive oil

1 Tbs raspberry vinegar

1/4 tsp mustard

1/8 tsp sugar, salt & pepper

Here it is pre-shaking:


And here it is post-shaking: (sorry, it’s blurry)


I really like this method: the dressing gets emulsified and there’s no mess. Get yourself a dressing jar today.

As for the salad assembly, it’s real easy. Wash and tear up the arugula. Add sliced nectarine. Toss with some dressing. Toast some walnuts, sprinkle on top. (2 Tbs of walnuts.) And then sprinkle on raspberries. Here’s the finished product:


Isn’t it cute in my new bowl? Oh new bowl, you are my new favorite bowl. Imagine all the salads we’ll have together. We’re going to be best friends.

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