Simple Caesar Salad is easy to make and delicious to eat! Fresh romaine lettuce, crunchy croutons, shaved Parmesan cheese and a creamy egg-free Caesar dressing.
Every time a group of us get together and do a food themed week, we get this weird burst of inspiration afterward for what the next theme should be. Mind you, Pie Week just came up on Twitter one day last summer as kind of a lark while we were discussing what we love to make with all the great summer berries. Be a Good Cookie Week happened for a great cause. Cake Week seemed like the thing to do. Let’s face it–cake needs to happen on a regular basis in my world. It’s a sanity thing.
So after Cake Week came to a close, we were workshopping about what the next theme should be. Monica the GromMom piped into the discussion and suggested a Salad Week.
That Monica! She’s our Collective Healthy Living Conscience.
As soon as we locked in Salad Week, I knew that I would have to share my Favorite Salad Dressing of All Time. Oh, and I guess a salad to put it on. I make Caesar dressing all the dang time. It’s a basic parmesan vinaigrette, but if I add a little anchovy to it—Poof! Instant Egg-Free Caesar Dressing. This salad is so simple and delicious that it graces our table on a weekly basis.
Gather the necessary ingredients for this Simple Caesar Salad. The only thing even remotely exotic is the anchovy paste, but if anchovies give you the willies, you can skip it. Only don’t skip it–you won’t even taste them but they give the dressing a little zip.
By the way…I find anchovy paste near the jarred sundried tomatoes at the grocery store. I prefer it to canned anchovies because I open those silly little cans, use one anchovy, then end up throwing the rest away. The stuff in the tube keeps forever in the refrigerator.
Also, since this salad has so few ingredients, be sure to use the best, freshest ingredients that you can get your hands on–that’ll make the difference between a great salad, and meh.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the day old bread into 1/2-inch cubes. I used the heels of some bread that I made. Usually the Bacon Slayer and I fight over the bread heels, but somehow these had escaped our notice. If you don’t have day old bread, cube up some other good bread, and let the cubes sit out overnight to dry out.
Place the cubed bread onto a rimmed baking sheet.
Pour a few teaspoons of olive oil in a small skillet set over medium heat.
Add a clove of minced garlic to the oil, and bring it to a simmer.
Once little bubbles start congregating around the garlic, remove the skillet from the heat so as not to burn the garlic.
Drizzle the garlic in oil over the bread cubes.
Sprinkle a hefty pinch of kosher salt and a little black pepper. Toss the cubes to coat.
Toast the bread in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Allow the croutons to cool on the baking sheet.
Now let’s assemble the simple Caesar salad!
Lop the ends off of a couple of Romaine hearts.
Rinse the leaves really well to remove any grit lurking on them. Set the leaves in a colander to drain.
Meanwhile, finely grate a few tablespoons of parmesan. This will not be the last you’ll see of the parmesan. You can quote me on that.
Squeeze a good amount of fresh lemon juice into a pint-sized canning jar with a lid.
Add a clove of minced garlic. Two if you can take it.
Add a little coarse-grained mustard. The mustard acts as a thickener in place of the traditional egg in the Caesar dressing. Don’t freak out if you don’t like mustard because you can barely taste it–it just gives the whole thing a little zip.
Pour in a little Worcestershire sauce for a little zing.
The anchovy paste is the one ingredient that packs a salty punch. It’s not fishy tasting, so don’t skip it. Zip! Zing! Pow! Now the dressing is getting a little sass.
Pour in the olive oil…
and add the finely grated parmesan cheese.
Place the lid tightly on the jar, and give the whole thing a vigorous shaking to emulsify the dressing. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasonings with salt & pepper if you want to.
Boy, I love this simple Caesar salad!
Tear the Romaine into bite-sized pieces and arrange them on a platter or in a serving bowl.
Season the greens with a pinch of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Use a vegetable peeler to shave big ribbons of parmesan over the greens.
Sprinkle the croutons over the simple Caesar salad, and drizzle on a little of the dressing, tossing the salad to coat.
I’m not a big fan of soggy salads, so I go with the conservative approach with it comes to dressing. I toss the salad with about 1/3 cup of the dressing and serve the rest on the side for those that like a little more.
No matter how you choose to dress it up, this Simple Caesar Salad is worthy of a regular place at your table.
Don’t forget to check out the other Salad Week options, thus far:
Allison @ Decadent Philistine’s Tabbouleh Salad
Jeanne @ Inside NanaBread’s Head’s 50′s Fruit Salad
Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain‘s Parmesan Cups with Arugula. I don’t think I’m alone in the fact that I will eat darn near anything in a parmesan cheese cup. Right?
Kat @ Tenaciously Yours brings the party once again, this time with her Party Salad.
On Friday Megan @ Country Cleaver put the dark chocolate in Mole with her Chicken Mole Salad. Yep…she put chocolate in a spicy chicken salad. Because she’s awesome like that.
Enjoy your simple Caesar salad!