Many years ago I had a marketing job that meant, in the name of work, I ate out a lot. And I mean a lot. There was also the occasional overseas trips undertaken and twice I was lucky enough to visit New York on business. Labeled a ‘jolly’, the trip was as much about food as it was the thrills of Manhattan: huge hotel breakfasts followed by large, leisurely lunches and obscenely over-indulgent dinners punctuated each day. There’s only so much a girl can eat even if the food is amazing so I quickly took to choosing Caesars Salad as my default choice for lunch, being the perfect foil for the inevitable heavy, rich dinners that I knew would follow. I’ve never had a Caesars Salad as good as those I enjoyed in New York and so ended up developing my own version: New York Caesars Salad, My Way! I have no idea how close to the authentic recipe mine is but it’s pretty close to those savoured in Manhattan. It’s light but edgy – salad with attitude I’d say – and really enlivening – give it a go!
What you need…
4 good-sized slices back bacon
300g mixed salad leaves (including iceberg for the crunch), torn
A good handful of freshly grated Parmesan
for the croutons
1 slice bread from a large loaf
for the dressing
60ml olive oil
30ml white wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Sea salt and black pepper to season
What to do…
For the croutons, cut bread roughly into 1cm squares and pop into a bowl with the butter and then into the microwave for 1 minute. Stir to make sure the butter is evenly distributed and pop back in for another 40 seconds. Repeat this last process until the croutons are golden and crispy. In my microwave, I do 3 x 40 seconds.
(N.B. microwave times may vary – I rarely use a microwave so ours is old and pretty inferior so yours may do the job much quicker).
Set the croutons aside to cool.
Dry-fry the bacon until its crispy. Remove from the pan and as soon as it’s cool enough to handle, chop it up into bite-sized pieces (I use scissors for this – it’s quicker than a knife for me). Put the chopped pieces on kitchen paper to absorb the moisture whilst the bacon cools.
In a jam jar, chuck all the dressing ingredients in together, screw on the lid and shake vigorously to mix everything together and break down the anchovies.
When you are ready to serve, tip your salad leaves into a large roomy salad bowl and throw in the bacon. Add half the Parmesan and then the dressing. Toss everything together. Either divide into two bowls or serve to the table in the salad bowl. Whichever way, scatter over more Parmesan and finally, the croutons. Enjoy! It really is a wonderful salad!
I like New York Caesar’s Salad on it’s own as a main course, but it also works well served with steak or as a starter, perhaps with garlic bread.
Cooks’ Ingredients frozen, chopped garlic from Waitrose – just tip some in the dressing rather than all that peeling and chopping….