It is only 8:30 in the morning and my house already smells like garlic and parmesan… my friend Fawn and I are catering a 50th wedding anniversary celebration in a few hours, This is a sample of what our spread looks like… don’t we do beautiful food? And guess what! Tastes good, too. One of my jobs today is the Caesar salad. I hate to admit it, but I am not a Caesar salad fan. There are a couple of things, though, that elevate this salad to special occasion status.
The first is these homemade croutons. (Sorry no photo of the actual salad… I’m not making it until this afternoon. But I made these up fresh this morning…) With sliced baguette, olive oil and garlic, parmesan and fresh Italian parsley, they are more like little garlic toasts, really. The second special ingredient is shrimp scampi. I seldom make my own Caesar dressing. Don’t hate me, but I think that Newman’s Own makes a Caesar dressing that is very good, and when you are loading the salad with shrimp scampi and homemade croutons, you are probably not going to notice the difference. But feel free to make your own Caesar if you like… if you are a purist, you will have to make it tableside, with raw eggs and anchovies.
Now, I still don’t love this salad, even with the secret ingredients (although I have been known to hide in the pantry eating the shrimp scampi straight from the skillet). Make no mistake, though... everyone else loves it. However, there is this variation I sometimes make that I do crave. Omit the homemade croutons, place a good helping of the salad on an extra-large tortilla, fold the ends in and roll it up… and then toast it on all sides in a hot skillet. The salad doesn’t heat up…it stays nice and fresh inside, but the nice toasty tortilla just makes it taste like a meal to me. Try it… you’ll like it!