written by Ginny Cooper McCarley recipes by Kimme Hargrove
he Ides of March will always conjure up Julius Caesar and the conspiracy and betrayal surrounding his death, but despite popular belief, the ancient Roman ruler had nothing to do with your favorite salad. However, rumor and betrayal swirls around the origins of this dish as well. One legend says chef Caesar Cardini concocted the dish out of necessity on a particularly busy night at his Tijuana, Mexico, restaurant back in 1924. Others claim that Cardini’s brother Alex, an Italian air pilot during World War I, added anchovies and popularized the version we know today. Yet another story says it wasn’t a Cardini who created the salad but an employee at the restaurant. After the dish became popular, Caesar Cardini claimed the recipe as his own and named it after himself. Whatever the true origins, this month’s recipe by Invitation Magazines’ food blogger, Kimme Hargrove, features all the elements of a classic Caesar salad — a rich, creamy, garlicky dressing; loads of grated Parmesan; and a crunchy topping — with a few fun twists. Throw halved romaine on the grill for a light char and slight wilt that pairs perfectly with the strong flavors of the dressing. If you’re turned off by the idea of raw eggs thickening the dressing, don’t worry: Hargrove provides an equally decadent egg-free version.
20 INVITATION OXFORD | March 2018
Grilled Caesar Salad
Light (and Eggless) Caesar Dressing
2 heads romaine lettuce, rinsed and cut in half lengthwise 2 Tablespoons olive oil Salt and pepper, to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced 1 teaspoon anchovy paste Juice of ½ lemon (about 2 Tablespoons) 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1 Tablespoon white vinegar ½ cup plain Greek yogurt ½ cup olive oil ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat grill to medium-high. Drizzle romaine halves (both sides) with olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste. Place cut side down on grill for 2 minutes, then flip. Heat for another 1-2 minutes, until slightly charred. Serve cut side up, drizzled with dressing and topped with Parmesan Crisps. For a traditional Caesar salad, served cold, use chopped romaine lettuce. Toss with dressing, and top with fresh croutons and shaved Parmesan cheese.
Parmesan Crisps ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese Heat oven to 350ºF. Line a large baking pan (or 2 small pans) with parchment paper or silicone baking sheets. Drop cheese by heaping tablespoonfuls onto pan, patting each pile down gently and placing piles 1 inch apart (crisps will spread while cooking). Bake 5-6 minutes, until slightly browned. Cool and gently loosen using a spatula.
Combine first 6 ingredients using a whisk. Whisk in yogurt until combined. Drizzle in olive oil slowly while whisking vigorously. Once the olive oil has been emulsified, add Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, to taste. (The anchovy paste adds a depth of flavor that isn’t fishy at all, but haters can leave it out.)
Quick Homemade Croutons ½ loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes 3 Tablespoons olive oil 1 Tablespoon garlic salt Salt and pepper, to taste Heat oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, sprinkle olive oil, garlic salt, salt and pepper over bread cubes. Toss to combine. Spread croutons onto a baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool and store in a ziplock plastic bag.
Published on Mar 1, 2018