The classics deserve much props and little improvisation. You can’t get much more perfect than the Caesar Salad. Like a great lover, it is crisp, moist and creamy in all the right places. No wonder this salad is so universal on plates across the world. Now is your chance to wow even the most discriminate date with this simple DIY Caesar Salad from scratch. Once you make this ridiculously easy salad once, sequels by the dozen are sure to follow. This salad works perfectly as a starter before a blow-their-mind entrée, or can stand alone as a lunch. It was the perfect follow up course to the sultry French Onion Soup I served. Naturally, my date was satisfied to her core with such simplicity. She pounced like a wildcat before I could even finish. My only regret is that the lettuce wilted before I could eat the rest. I can always make more and more and more.
Total time: approximately 15 minutes (30 minutes if you bake chicken)
Projected cost: $9
Drinking Buddy: Iced tea, Arnold Palmer, or Martini
1. 1 head of romaine lettuce
2. 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
3. 1 teaspoon of salt
4. 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
5. 1 cup of French bread (or white bread) cut into bite-sized cubes
6. ½ teaspoon of black pepper
7. 4 anchovies (or 2 teaspoons of anchovy paste)
8. 2 chicken breasts
9. 1 lemon
10. 1 egg
11. 3 garlic cloves minced
12. ¼ cup of grated Parmesan cheese
13. 2 tablespoons of olive oil (not pictured, forgive me, oh lord)
Step 1 (skip this step if you buy pre-made croutons)
Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Combine 2/3 of the chopped garlic, salt and olive oil in a bowl. Toss the bread cubes with the mixture until it is coated evenly. Spread the bread across a baking sheet and cook until the bread chunks brown. (approx 20 minutes)
Marinate the chicken breasts with the juice from ½ the lemon and pepper it nicely. On medium heat, grill the chicken on both sides so they brown, flipping once. (approx 5 minutes) If you’d rather bake, place the chicken in a baking pan and cook for 25-35 minutes at 350 degrees F.
While the chicken is cooking, mix up that dressing: chop the anchovies up finely. Combine them in a bowl with the egg, garlic, ½ lemon worth of juice, Worcestershire sauce, and Dijon mustard. Whisk it all together thoroughly. (approx 2 minutes)
Cut the cooked chicken in to long thin strips. Wash the romaine lettuce then chop into 2 inch long pieces of lettuce. Combine the lettuce, croutons in a bowl, and parmesan, then toss it with the desired amount of dressing (don’t overdo the dressing at first, you can always add more). Finally toss that salad (get your mind out of the gutter). Serve up with the chicken strips over the top, with a little extra parmesan on top. Voila!