This take on Caesar salad is lighter and brighter than most. Lemon juice and zest punch up the vinaigrette, while a little mascarpone, instead of the traditional raw egg yolks, imparts richness. If you don't have leftover roast chicken you can also use a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
Make the vinaigrette:
Finely grate about 1 Tbs. zest from the lemon. Squeeze the lemon to get 2 Tbs. juice. In a blender or mini chopper, purée (as much as possible) the lemon juice, Parmigiano, mascarpone, mustard, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce, scraping the sides as needed. While puréeing, drizzle in the oil, slowly at first and then in a more steady stream as the mixture thickens and emulsifies. Thin the vinaigrette with water if needed. Add the lemon zest, thyme, and Tabasco and purée. Taste and season generously with salt and pepper (about 1 tsp. of each) and more lemon juice if you like.
Prepare the salad:
Heat the oven to 425°F. In a small bowl, mix the oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Set the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush them with the oil mixture. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano. Bake until browned, 10 to 12 min.
In a small bowl, toss the chicken with about 1/4 cup of the dressing. In a large bowl, toss the romaine and 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano with enough dressing to coat lightly (you might not need it all). Add salt and pepper to taste.
Put the dressed greens on plates and top with the chicken and a drizzle of dressing, if any remains. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano and some black pepper and serve immediately with the toasts.
Serve a quick and easy Lemon Parfait for dessert.
nutrition information (per serving):
based on six servings;
Photo: Scott Phillips