The classic Caesar salad is good, but I prefer this version. It has a better balance of flavors, in my opinion.
One of the things I don't like is when Caesar salad is weighed down and sloppy by a thick and heavy dressing that is so hot with garlic and anchovy I can't taste anything else I eat at the meal. This dressing is a light and bright Caesar vinaigrette with no anchovies. (If you feel you must use them, that's fine.) I also add sweet cornbread croutons fried in brown butter for a nutty sweetness. The dressing and other salad ingredients are delicious, including crispy chickpeas and shaved Parmesan. YUM.
Notes: Olive oil is extra virgin. Butter is unsalted.
LIGHTENED-UP CAESAR WITH CRISPY CHICKPEAS
& BROWN BUTTER CROUTONS
Ingredients: 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce, 1 can chickpeas, 2 cups prepared cornbread cut in chunks, 2 tbsp. olive oil, sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 3 tbsp. butter.
For the Caesar Vinegrette: 1 egg yolk, 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, a pinch of sea salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. minced garlic, 2 tsp. Dijon mustard, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil.
1. Roast the Chickpeas: Preheat the oven to 425* F. Drain and dry the chickpeas. Tumble onto a parchment paper-lined sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, and season to taste with sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Toss, then roast for 20-25 minutes until browned and crispy. Remove to cool.
2. Make the croutons: Add the butter to a large skillet over medium heat to melt. Swirl the pan as the butter turns brown and the solids separate from the liquids. Observe so as not to scorch the butter. This takes about 7-9 minutes. Add the chunks of cornbread and cook until browned another few minutes. Set aside.
3. Make the vinaigrette: In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk the egg yolk with the Worster sauce, garlic, Dijon, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while you whisk to emulsify.
4. Assemble salad: Tumble the romaine on top of the dressing, followed by the chickpeas, Parmesan, and cornbread croutons. Add the dried oregano, then toss. Serve immediately.
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