I am always on the lookout for new ways to dress up salads. When our large family gets together, a traditional caesar salad is always on the menu.
If you like a traditional caesar salad but don’t like using raw eggs, this updated caesar’s for you!
Cornbread croutons add an unexpected boost of flavor and crunch.
Save time by making cornbread a few days ahead or buy croutons (Trader Joe’s sells some yummy garlic cheese croutons and crouton rounds in the salad dressing aisle).
Flavor boost #2: Replace raw garlic with the rich, mellow taste of Roasted garlic. Easy to make at home, it’s also easier on your breath and digestion:
On a baking sheet lined with foil, separate a few heads of garlic into cloves and toss with olive oil and a little kosher salt. Cover and bake at 350 F for 25 -30 minutes. Let cool, then squeeze garlic out of the shells into a container. Cover, refrigerate and use in place of fresh.
This salad recipe is adapted from a new cookbook called Genius Recipes: 100 recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook by Food52.com’s Kristen Miglore. The book is full of exciting recipes that are easy, beautiful and delicious. We all need new ways to stretch our cooking savvy, right? I’ll be sharing more adaptations of these genius recipes in the coming months.
In addition to roasted garlic, I’ve replaced traditional anchovy fillets with a few dabs of anchovy paste. You can find anchovies and anchovy paste in the Italian cooking aisle of your grocery store.
Whisk the garlic and anchovy paste together first, to break up the clumps, then add in the rest of the dressing ingredients. For a smoother, slightly thicker dressing, use a blender.
This dressing makes a great alternative to ranch and keeps in the refrigerator for a few weeks. Other uses: serve caesar dressing with raw or roasted vegetables or as a dip with cheese, crackers and fruit.
Make the cornbread and the dressing ahead of time for a fast fresh Caesar that comes together in minutes. Now that’s genius.
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Dress up romaine lettuce with an easy, creamy caesar dressing and zippy cornbread croutons. Bright cherry tomatoes and parmesan add extra color and crunch. Use this versatile salad dressing as a dip for roasted or raw vegetables or crackers and cheese!
- 1 box cornbread mix (I use Jiffy)
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup milk of choice
- 2 -3 tablespoons olive oil
- paprika or smoked paprika
- kosher salt and coarse ground cracked pepper
- 2 hearts of romaine lettuce
- 1 small container cherry or multi colored small tomatoes
- 1 clove roasted or raw garlic, mashed
- 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tobasco)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use Hellman’s)
- 1/4 cup cool water
- 1/3 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
- For the cornbread croutons:
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray and line with parchment paper either an 8 ” square or 8″ x 11″ sheet pan (called a 1/4 sheet pan).
- In a medium size bowl whisk together egg and 1/3 cup milk of choice. (I use almond milk).
- Pour in cornbread mix and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Stir with a spatula, about 20 strokes, until just blended. Let batter rest a few minutes, then pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with paprika or smoked paprika for color.
- Bake 15 minutes, remove and let cool. Keep oven on.
- Place cooled cornbread on a cutting board and cut into 2 inch squares (about 42 squares.) Toss cubes with olive oil + a little salt and pepper and bake at 400 F, 10 minutes, flipping once during baking. Remove and set aside until ready to use. (Bake and store cooled croutons in a covered container a few days in advance.)
- For Salad: Trim lettuce ends, separate leaves, wash, dry and chill lettuce in the refrigerator.
- Wash tomatoes, slice in halves, set aside.
- For Dressing: In a large bowl, combine with a fork the garlic and anchovy paste (if you like anchovies, double the amount). Mix well with vinegar, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Then blend in mayo and water. Lastly sprinkle in cheese. If you prefer a smoother dressing, use a blender. Taste and adjust with kosher salt and black pepper.
- To serve: In a large bowl toss chilled lettuce leaves with about half of the dressing. Add in sliced tomatoes, additional parmesan and some of the croutons. Pass around extra dressing, parmesan and croutons at the table.
Adapted from Food52’s Genius Recipes by Kristen Miglore
Romaine Hearts with Caesar Salad Dressing from Frankies Spuntino