Friday, July 8, 2011
I am trying to recall when I first discovered Caesar salad. I think it may have been back in elementary school at my friend Jessica's house. Jessica's house was pretty much paradise when I was a kid because she had all of the latest toys, TWO twin beds (which meant you got your own bed when you slept over), and a television in her room (where we watched the Mickey Mouse Club and Kids Incorporated religiously). Her mom also made these twice baked potatoes which perfectly defined my idea of heaven at age 8.
It must have been Jessica's mom Marilyn who introduced me to Caesar salad. Salads in our house were simple things comprised mainly of iceberg lettuce, sliced carrots, and French dressing. I sadly had a deep and stubborn aversion to vegetables at this age and only ate them when forced. I didn't count salad as a vegetable because it was pretty bland and safe. Caesar salad though was a treat. Fancy romaine lettuce, croutons, cheese, and dressing? Yes please!
In the last week I got a real taste for Caesar salad and was on the hunt for an egg yolk-free, low-fat, and delicious Caesar dressing. Leave it to America's Test Kitchen to save the day. This dressing is thinner than a traditional Caesar, but tastes just the same and includes 200 less calories per serving. Not to shabby eh?
We traded out chicken for salmon and traditional croutons for whole-wheat, garlic ones. You're left with a grown-up version of that nostalgic salad you love.
Grown-Up Caesar Salad
Salad & Salmon
1 bunch romaine lettuce
1-2 ounces Parmesan cheese
1 whole-wheat baugette
1 clove of garlic
A handful of cherry tomatoes (optional)
2 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
2 salmon fillets
Caesar dressing (recipe follows below)
America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook
Note: If you haven't bought anchovies before, never fear. Pick up a little jar of oil packed ones and store them in your fridge. They are really necessary to this recipe and round out the flavors in the dressing. They are the perfect salty addition to sauces and dressings and no one will be the wiser when they are included.
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)
Caesar Dressing Directions
Puree the buttermilk, lemon juice, mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire, anchovies, garlic, salt, and pepper together in a food processor or blender until smooth, about 30 seconds. With the motor running, add the oil in a steady stream until incorporated. Transfer dressing to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan. Makes about 3/4 cup. Dressing will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days. 70 calories per 1.5 tablespoons.
1. Begin with the croutons. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Slice off a quarter of the baguette and slice the bread length wise. Lay the bread flat and rub with the garlic clove. Slice into cubes and toss with one tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pop into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the croutons are dry and toasty. Cool pan on a rack and set aside.
3. While your croutons are baking mix up your dressing according to the directions above.
4. After your croutons are baked, turn your oven down to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the salmon fillets skin side down. Brush with the remaining tablespoon of oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 14-18 minutes.
5. While the salmon is cooking, wash your lettuce. Once your salmon is out of the oven, finish putting the salad together. Top the lettuce with a handful of croutons, tomatoes, the Parmesan, and drizzle with a couple tablespoons of dressing. Gently mix the salad and divide between two plates. Top each plate with the salmon, an extra sprinkling of Parmesan, and pepper. Enjoy!