This variation of Caesar salad comes together right in the bowl. Rather than dumping a creamy and heavy (albeit delicious) dressing on the romaine, in this recipe the garlic is mashed together with the anchovies and olive oil, then tossed with the romaine, lemon juice, egg yolk and Parmesan cheese.
The salad becomes much lighter and is so flavorful and fresh. I prefer this style to any dressing out of a bottle. Topped with chicken or shrimp it makes the perfect entrée or a great side salad served in a seasoned large wooden salad bowl. I like to take my Caesar salad a step further and top it with homemade croutons that have been tossed in chili oil to give it a little more of a kick.
This is a recipe that one of my mentors, Riki Senn, taught me based on her experience at the famed Greenbriar in West Virginia. Traditionally this salad is assembled on a cart at the table, at classic “white tablecloth” type institutions (hence the name “tableside”).
I’ve experienced this technique at the Italian restaurant Carbone on a trip to Las Vegas, and it was entertaining to watch as it comes together before your eyes. It’s like getting to sit at a table in a restaurant with an open kitchen concept. I love getting to see what goes on behind the scenes.
This recipe does call for a raw egg yolk, but if you are uncomfortable with that because of health concerns (the whole salmonella scare that was ingrained in our brains in the 90’s is over the top in my opinion) then feel free to omit it in favor of additional Parmesan cheese. However, the egg yolk helps to create that creamy element that is characteristic of Caesar salad.
Also – don’t count out anchovies, even if you aren’t a fan; give them a try in this recipe anyway. You can’t necessarily taste the anchovy flavor but they provide a briny, umami flavor that rounds out the dressing. While oil-packed anchovies are traditionally used, I also like using the anchovy paste that comes in a tube – it lasts longer and can be kept in the fridge for easy use.
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