The Caesar salad has long been a favorite in many parts of the world. Something about the crisp romaine lettuce leaves (ideally chilled) coupled with the tangy dressing of lemon, Worcestershire, anchovy, egg and olive oil is irresistible. Top that with shavings of salty parmesan and crunchy croutons, and you have one fabulous salad.
There are a ton of ways to vary a Caesar salad. Some of the more typical are adding chicken, shrimp or steak. But I prefer a far more interesting variation that adds another flavor element that is perfect for a salad: celery! Adding sliced celery, celery leaves and julienned celery root to the salad gives a distinctive flavor that is fresh and delicious. So try your hand at the Celery Caesar Salad, and I think you (and your guests) will love it!
Ingredients (serves 4):
1/4 loaf of rustic French bread, torn into bite-sized pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil
fine sea salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp anchovy paste (or 1 anchovy filet)
1 egg yolk
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup parmesan shavings
2 romaine hearts
8 stalks of celery from the heart (the small, tender ones), plus all the leaves
1/2 cup of julienned celery root (celeriac), matchstick sized
Start by making the croutons. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the torn bread pieces with 2 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt. Spread out on a baking sheet in a single layer, and cook in the oven until crisp and golden brown, about 7-8 minutes. (Watch carefully to make sure they don’t burn.) Remove from the oven, and put the croutons on paper towels and allow to cool.
Make the dressing by combining the lemon juice, vinegar, Dijon mustard, anchovy paste, egg yolk, and garlic in a blender. Run briefly to combine the ingredients, then while running, very slowly drizzle the olive oil through the opening in the lid. Blend until thickened. Taste and season with salt & pepper to taste. It should be a consistency that you can pour. If too thick, add a teaspoon or two of water.
To assemble the salad, remove the lettuce from the fridge at the very last minute. Separate the leaves (wash and dry if needed), and lay either whole or gently torn romaine leaves on individual chilled plates. Layer in the celery leaves and stalks, celery root, and grated parmesan. Drizzle dressing over the top with a spoon, then top with parmesan shavings and croutons.