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How to Make a Caesar Salad

Making a crisp, tangy, restaurant-style Caesar salad at home is as simple as shopping for the best ingredients for the salad, croutons, and dressing. In this video, you'll learn how to make each of these components, and put them all together for a classic Caesar salad.

with Nicki Sizemore

Length: 3:28
Produced By: Sarah Breckenridge

You don't have to go to a restaurant to satisfy your craving for the crisp, tangy, cheesy goodness of Caesar salad. Making one at home is as simple as shopping for the best ingredients and using them to make your own salad, croutons, and dressing. In this video, you'll learn how to make each of these components, and put them all together for a classic Caesar salad.

Start off by prepping your croutons:  Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Cut 4 large slices of white sandwich bread into roughly 1 inch square pieces. Put the bread cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet.

Melt 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a 1- to 2-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, mashing it gently with the back of a wooden spoon, and raise the heat to medium.

Cook until the butter is fragrant, stirring occasionally this will take about 3 or 4 minutes. It's fine if the garlic starts to brown around the edges. Take the pan off  the heat and discard the garlic.

Drizzle the butter over the bread cubes. Toss with your hands until the cubes are evenly coated. (Don't worry if some crumble.) Spread them in a single layer and sprinkle with 3/4 tsp of kosher salt.

Bake until the croutons are a deep golden-brown, about 15 to 17 minutes. 

While the croutons cool, prep your Parmesan cheese and lettuce.

Cut a 2 and 3/4-ounce chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano into small cubes, then pulse them in your food processor until they're coarsely grated to the consistency of large grains of sand.

Trim one large head of romaine lettuce, quarter it lengthwise, then cut it crosswise into roughly 1-inch wide strips. Wash the lettuce and dry it very well, so the dressing will adhere to the leaves.

Now make the dressing: in a liquid measuring cup, combine 1/4 cup canola oil and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.

In the pitcher of your blender, put 6 oil-packed anchovies, 4 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled, 1 large egg yolk, 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Blend until they're completely combined.

With the motor running on medium high, carefully pour in the oils in a slow, steady stream. The dressing will emulsify as soon as all of the oil is incorporated. Stop the motor, add 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano, and quickly blend to combine.

Put the lettuce in a large salad bowl. Drizzle a little less than 1/3 cup of the dressing over the lettuce and toss well. Taste and add more dressing if necessary, a teaspoon or so at a time, until the leaves are nicely dressed. 

Add 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano and toss well. Taste a leaf and add more cheese if you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the croutons, toss well, and serve.

Videography by Gary Junken and Michael Dobsevage; editing by Cari Delahanty

from Fine Cooking
Issue 104

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