Wednesday, December 17

Winter Caesar Salad

A wintery-spin on a classic caesar with escarole, homemade croutons, and anchovy dressing

AOC Escarole Salad with Anchovy Dressing

I'm not ashamed to admit that a classic caesar salad is still probably my favorite salad of all time (or at least tied with another old-school favorite, the wedge). While definitely not the most virtuous salad out there, nor the most exciting, there is something so nostalgic about a perfect caesar. It's all about the dressing, which should be generously coating the leaves of lettuce, along with crunchy croutons and a liberal amount of grated parmesan cheese. This version, adapted from a recipe in the A.O.C. Cookbook, uses escarole for a slightly bitter, wintery take on the classic. You can certainly use a more standard lettuce, like romaine, but I like the flavor and texture of escarole, especially if you make it this time of year. You can make a big batch of hand-torn croutons and dressing in advance, keep washed and dried greens in a paper towel-lined bag in the fridge, and then make this salad as a quick side to meals all week long.

Related Recipes:
- Tricolore Salad with Parmesan Anchovy Dressing
- Chicken Bacon Caesar Sandwich
- Mixed Greens & Fennel with Fried Capers & Anchovy Dressing

Escarole Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons & Anchovy Dressing:
For Dressing
  • Combine 1 minced garlic clove, 2 anchovy fillets, and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt in a mortar and pestle and mash into in a paste. 
  • Stir in 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar, 2 tbsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and 1/2 tbsp. dijon mustard.
  • Slowly whisk in 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil until emulsified.
For Salad
  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Tear 1/2 baguette into bite size pieces, then toss on a baking sheet with 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil and a pinch of salt and toss to combine.
  • Spread the croutons into a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown and crunchy. Let cool.
  • Remove the core from 1 large head of escarole, wash and dry the leaves, and chop or tear into bite-size pieces.
  • Place the escarole in a large bowl with the croutons, 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese, and some of the dressing.
  • Toss to combine, then season with freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves three-four (side dish)