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Dinner tonight! Caesar salad

December 07, 2012
  • Caesar salad
Caesar salad (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles…)

Rich and creamy Caesar dressing, crunchy lettuce, fried capers, crisp croutons, shredded parmesan and a little lemon vinaigrette. That's how Michael Mina does Caesar at American Fish at Aria in Las Vegas. Sure, the recipe calls for more than a few ingredients, but it can be assembled from start to finish in about an hour. And I must warn you: Try this once and you may want to fix it again another night this week.

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American Fish's Caesar salad

Total time: 1 hour

Servings: 4

Note: Adapted from American Fish in Las Vegas. Instead of the oil-cured olives suggested below, the restaurant assembles the salad with dried black olives it prepares by drying black (Taggiasca or Kalamata) olives in a 225-degree oven for 6 to 8 hours (depending on the size), then chopping.

Lemon vinaigrette

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Caesar dressing

2 egg yolks

Juice from 1 lemon

1 cup olive oil

1 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon chopped capers

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 clove garlic

3 salted anchovy fillets, rinsed

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

1. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks together with the lemon. Slowly whisk in the oils, 1 teaspoon at a time, constantly whisking until the oil is emulsified to make a mayonnaise. This makes about 2 cups mayonnaise.

2. Using a mortar and pestle, or chopping and crushing with the side of a knife, combine the capers, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and anchovy fillets to form a paste.

3. Stir the purée into the mayonnaise until thoroughly combined, then stir in the Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This makes about 2 cups dressing, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe; the remaining dressing will keep for 2 to 3 days, covered and refrigerated.

Fried capers

Oil for frying

1 tablespoon drained capers

Salt

In a small saucepan, heat 1 to 2 inches of oil until a thermometer inserted reads 350 degrees. Add the capers and fry for 30 seconds. Drain on a paper towel, then season to taste with salt.

Croutons

16 slices French baguette, very thinly sliced on the bias

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the baguette slices with the oil, then lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the slices on a baking sheet and toast until crisp and golden, about 4 minutes.

Salad and assembly

4 heads Little Gem lettuce, or 4 hearts of romaine

Lemon vinaigrette

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1/2 cup Caesar dressing, more as desired

Croutons

16 lemon segments, from 2 lemons sliced into 8 wedges each

8 white anchovy fillets (boquerones), halved crosswise

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped oil-cured black olives

Fried capers

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Quarter each head of lettuce lengthwise, and toss the wedges with the lemon vinaigrette and chopped parsley.

2. On each of 4 plates, spoon over a light base of Caesar dressing, then top the dressing on each plate with 4 lettuce quarters.

3. Garnish each wedge with a crouton and lemon wedge, and top each crouton with half of an anchovy fillet. Sprinkle over the chopped black olives, fried capers and Parmesan cheese evenly over the 4 servings. Serve immediately.

Each serving: 534 calories; 9 grams protein; 17 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 48 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 40 mg. cholesterol; 1 gram sugar; 718 mg. sodium.

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