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PizzaVino's Caesar salad with crunchy croutons

PizzaVino's Caesar salad with crunchy croutons
Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Dear SOS: I'm hoping the chef at PizzaVino, a lovely little restaurant on the plaza in Sebastopol, Calif., will share his secret for the most delicious crunchy croutons I've ever tasted. It seems as if many of us "Hail, Caesar"! ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes | Serves 4 to 6

Crunchy croutons

  • 5 cups fresh focaccia bread, cubed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

Step 1Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the cubed focaccia with the olive oil until evenly coated, then toss with the salt. Spread the bread on a large, rimmed baking sheet and toast until golden and crunchy, 15 to 20 minutes.

Caesar salad dressing

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 anchovies, or to taste
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup olive oil, more as desired
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Step 1Using a mortar and pestle, or in a food processor, grind the garlic and anchovy into a paste.

Step 2In a medium bowl, combine the garlic-anchovy paste with the lemon zest, red wine vinegar, 1 to 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce and egg. Whisk to combine, then whisk in the lemon juice.

Step 3While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil to thicken and emulsify the dressing. Season and adjust the flavoring as desired. This makes about 1 cup dressing, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe. The dressing will keep, covered and refrigerated, for 2 to 3 days.

Caesar salad assembly

  • 12 cups tender romaine leaves (such as Little Gem or baby romaine), washed and drained
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup Caesar salad dressing, more as desired
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Croutons

Step 1In a large bowl, toss the romaine leaves with dressing just to coat. Plate the salad on a serving platter or on individual plates. Sprinkle the Parmigiano evenly over the salad, and top with the croutons. Serve immediately.

Note: Adapted from PizzaVino in Sebastopol, Calif.


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