Romaine or cos lettuce, a slightly bitter variety, make up the traditional leafy green bed but feel free to mix and match with crisp iceberg, a mild endive, or include nutrient-dense greens such as kale or spinach.
Originally, Caesar salad was made from whole leaf lettuce leaves (be sure to read through three mistakes to avoid below to ensure you aren’t adding bitter leaves ), though this can be substituted with shredded leaves, and which make serving and eating much easier!
Croutons are cubed pieces of stale bread that have been toasted until golden brown and crunchy, in an induction pot or pan or oven, and add a delicious crunch to any salad.
Croutons can be bought inexpensively at most grocery stores or online, but they are also quick and easy to make at home and will have fewer preservatives, less salt and you have the options to choose your favorite seasonings.
To make your own homemade croutons, it is best to select a slightly stale bread, olive oil (or melted butter or a combination of the two), salt (sea salt is not only better for you, it has a wonderful flavour) and add your choice of herbs such as garlic, dry herbs (such as oregano, basil, or thyme).
To make, cut or tear the stale bread into cubes, and sprinkle with olive oil in a pan (induction pots and pans work well for this) or place in the oven until toasty (just a note, butter does burn faster, so use a lower heat setting and do not leave unattended).
Another Caesar salad staple; parmesan is a hard, aged cheese that is delicious freshly shredded and makes for a perfect topping. Do be sure to use freshly grated cheese if possible, as it adds much more flavor and creaminess to the dish than the packaged version.
Some people prefer to chop or blend hard-boiled egg yolks while others prefer sliced or quartered eggs to spice up the presentation but it really is your preference.
Regardless of how you slice it, a lightly boiled, or coddled, egg the perfect addition to any salad but it’s a must for a Caesar salad. Beware of overcooking eggs, which will become dry, keeping them on the soft side makes for a creamier texture (and a perfect partner for the parmesan cheese).
The original dressing is believed to be made from lemon juice, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and black pepper but more options are now available to suit even the most refined taste.
When making a dressing from scratch you may want to keep the dressing simple, something easy to whip up. Alternatively, a dressing can be made by creating an emulsion of anchovies, garlic, salt, egg yolks, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and a mix of olive and vegetable oils.
Commercially produced Caesar dressings can be substituted with an oil and vinegar mix or a simple dollop of mayonnaise can make for the simplest topping.
Additions and Variations
In much the same way that the very first Caesar salad was made with whatever was on hand, so you can also add variations and additions as you so choose. Popular add-ons include grilled chicken, sliced steak, crispy bacon, seafood (such as anchovies), or capers. This list is by no means exhaustive, so add what appeals to you!
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