Sunday, January 16, 2011

Classic Caesar Salad... Lightened!

   Who doesn't love a classic caesar salad? 

   Alright, bad question.  I don't like classic caesar salads.  The dressing is too creamy without much flavor and there is always too much of it.  I base this statement off of observations of friends ordering caesar salads (as the "healthy" alternative,) and the one time an idiot of a waiter brought me a side caesar instead of my house salad with balsamic on the side.  My first inclination was, "I don't want to be that customer who nit-picks about the salad. (Despite the fact that it was totally wrong.)  How bad can it be, really?  Everyone else seems to love this salad."  I dove in and then I gagged.  One bite and I wanted to run for the bathroom!  This was years ago, but the memory of that mayonnaise clogged (this was not a fancy place that used real egg), limp romaine, terrible crouton mouthful haunts me to this day.  Perhaps my first caesar experience would have been better spent at a lovely steak house or at least a restaurant which had an entree over $13, but alas, it was not.

   I have since had wonderful caesars, but I always hesitate.  As my mother and I have been making more of these New York classics at home, I have grown to [almost] love them.  The lingering memory still takes hold occasionally, but I am much better now, truly.  This version, I really do love:  there is no mayonnaise and it is fun to make! 

"Classic" Caesar Salad
1/2 tsp pasted garlic (1 medium sized clove)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp anchovy paste
1 tsp lemon juice (1 1/2 tsp if using bottled variety)
1 tsp dijon or deli mustard
1 tsp worcestershire sauce (use 1 1/2 tsp if you don't have anchovy paste)
1 1/2 C baby spinach
1 large heart of romaine, chopped
1/4 C grated parmesan cheese
cracked black pepper
**Wooden bowl

   To paste garlic:  mince, sprinkle with salt, and crush with the flat of your knife blade.  Spread around the bottom of the wooden bowl.  (Somehow the combination of smeared garlic in a wooden bowl makes all the difference.  I can't explain the magic.)  Add oil, anchovy paste, lemon, mustard, and worcestershire sauce to bowl and mix.  Making the dressing in the bottom of your serving bowl prevents overdressing the greens and helps to ensure even coverage.
   Toss spinach, romaine, and cheese in dressing.  Freshly crack black pepper over the top.
   Serves 4 side salad portions or two meal portions.  (For a meal, add grilled chicken, shrimp or steak.)

Total Ingredient Cost$3.75  That is the price of one side salad at a chain restaurant!
Per ServingCalories 65, Fat 4g, Total Carb 2g, Fiber 1g, Protein 0.5g
Daily ValuesVit A 19%, Vit C 6%, Calcium 9.25%, Iron 3%

1 comment:

  1. I'm working on a good vegan caesar salad dressing right now (I usually make my own dressing, which is pretty similar to your recipe) and I'm desperate for a substitute.

    xoxo ~ Courtney


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