Chopped Caesar Salad with Crispy Capers and Giant Crouton

If the story is true, we can thank a rush of unexpected restaurant patrons in 1924 for Caesar Salad. The story goes that an Italian restaurateur in Tijuana, Mexico, Caesar Cardini, was caught off guard by too many customers on the 4th of July. He improvised the few ingredients he had left in the kitchen and tossed them tableside for the serendipitous diners. Chopped Caesar Salad

When I started thinking about creating my own Caesar salad recipe, I wanted to respect the original flavors. The dressing recipe here is classic. But I’ve twisted the norm on everything else: chopped lettuce and hard boiled eggs, oven crisped capers, and giant croutons. Why a chopped Caesar? One, you don’t end up with a dressing stamp on your chin from a huge lettuce leaf. Two, you can mix up your bites with this or that combination.

Give it a try; I’d love to hear what you think.

Chopped Caesar Salad with Crispy Capers and Giant Crouton
 
Serve this as a side or top it with grilled chicken, shrimp, or salmon for a simple one-dish meal.
Ingredients
Crispy capers and giant croutons:
  • ¼ cup capers, rinsed and patted dry
  • 4 slices (1/2 inch) whole wheat sourdough or whole grain peasant loaf
  • olive oil for tossing/drizzling
For the dressing:
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 anchovies (optional - Worcestershire sauce gives a slight anchovy flavor)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ cup lemon juice, preferably fresh
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese plus extra to shave over salad (preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
For the salad:
  • 2 romaine lettuce hearts, chopped
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place capers in a small bowl and add about 1 teaspoon of olive oil; toss to coat.
  3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange bread slices on one half of the baking sheet and sprinkle capers in a single layer on the other. Drizzle bread slices with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until bread is golden brown and capers are crispy. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  4. Add all dressing ingredients except oil - garlic through Parmesan cheese - to the pitcher of a blender; puree. With blender running, slowly add olive oil and continue to blend until thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. In a large bowl combine chopped romaine and eggs; toss to combine. Drizzle with desired amount of dressing and toss to coat.
  6. Divide salad between 4 serving bowls. Top each salad with one giant crouton, a sprinkle of crispy capers, and several shavings of Parmesan cheese. Serve.
  7. Serves 4

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