This simplified version of Caesar salad consists of romaine hearts, reggiano Parmesan cheese, double smoked bacon, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Traditionally, Caesar salad is made with romaine lettuce and croutons with a dressing made with lemon juice, olive oil, shredded Parmesan cheese, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, and black pepper. In modern version it is often sprinkled with bacon bits. In this simple gourmet recipe, Caesar salad is presented with a flare—Parmesan strips shaped into twills for an elegant touch.
Although the dish looks like something from a fine restaurant, it isn’t difficult to prepare and harkens back to Caesar Cardini’s original 1924 creation while still offering up something new and exciting. To reduce the balsamic vinegar to create the glaze for this dish, simply pour a bottle of the vinegar in a saucepan, bring it to a simmer, and let the amount of liquid in the pan reduce by half. This process intensifies the flavor of the vinegar.
Today, there are many variations of Caesar salad. Some use anchovies instead of Worcestershire sauce to give the dressing more bite while others like to add fresh crushed garlic for a delightful tang. In some recipes, Caesar salad is topped with grilled chicken, seafood, or steak. In some Mexican restaurants, croutons are substituted with tortilla strips and sometimes Cotija cheese is used instead of Parmesan. Tomatoes are also added to the salad.
Other common variations for Caesar salad include a variety of lettuce or other kinds of lettuce like iceberg or butter lettuce. Grilled fish or shellfish can also be added to the salad, as well as capers or olives. Others like to use Romano cheese instead of Parmesan. Caesar salad is often served tableside where the salad is tossed in front of the guests for dramatic flair and entertainment. Showmanship was part of the service.
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