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March 7, 2013

Caesar Salad with Homemade Dressing and Croutons

I expected my culinary class to focus on classic sauces, but I was surprised with how many dressings we made from scratch.  We started off with a simple Caesar Salad, with homemade croutons and dressing.  To make this vegetarian, I omitted the anchovies called for in the dressing.  We served this the night we made Ratatouille, as a nice balance to the warm stew.

Caesar Salad

Yield: 4 Servings

2 lbs. Romaine Lettuce Leaves, cut into a large Chiffonade, washed, dried and chilled
8 fl. oz. Caesar Dressing (recipe below)
Grated Parmesan Cheese, as needed
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

1.  Gently toss the Romaine lettuce in a large bowl with the dressing. 
2.  Place each portion on a plate and garnish with Parmesan cheese, croutons, and black pepper.

Caesar Dressing

Yield:  1 Pint (16 oz.)

3/4 tsp. Garlic, minced
1 oz. Parmesan, grated
1/2 fl. oz. Red Wine Vinegar
3/4 tsp. Whole-Grain Mustard
3/4 tsp. Dijon-style Mustard
1/4 oz. Anchovy Fillets, finely minced and mashed
3/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
12 oz. Mayonnaise

1.  Combine all of the ingredients by hand until uniformly mixed.
2.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

Garlic Croutons

Yield:  10 oz. 

2 oz. Butter, unsalted
1 tsp. Garlic, minced
8 oz. French Bread, cut medium dice
1 tsp. Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 tsp. Basil, dried
1 tsp. Oregano, dried
Salt and Pepper to taste

1.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the garlic.  Sweat the garlic in the butter over low heat until fragrant and translucent.
2.  Place the bread cubes in a bowl; add the Parmesan cheese and herbs.
3.  Pour the garlic butter over the bread cubes and immediately toss to combine.
4.  Spread the bread cubes on a parchment paper lined sheet pan in a single layer and bake at 400 degrees Farenheit.  Stir the croutons occasionally and cook until dry and lightly browned, approximately 15 minutes.

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