If you asked him, Ken would say he doesn’t eat anchovies. And I promise you he won’t eat a raw egg. It would seem that those two limitations would make Caesar salad a lost cause in our house. Except that when I mash anchovies up with lots of lemon juice and garlic, their strong, salty flavor is subdued. And he’s okay with it. I do love the idea of a farm-fresh raw egg to help soften and round out the garlic-anchovy flavor even more, but I’m willing to compromise on that one (unless I’ve met the chicken, raw eggs scare me just a bit, too). So we make this mock Caesar without the egg but without sacrificing the anchovy. Homemade croutons and a lot of freshly shaved Parmesan make it the perfect match for many a pizza.

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups cubed rustic bread
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 anchovy fillets (or to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 small heads romaine lettuce, cut crosswise on an angle into 1-inch ribbons (about 4 cups)
  • A chunk of Parmesan cheese

Method

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Place the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat everything well. Bake until browned, 8 to 12 minutes, turning the cubes at least once so they brown evenly on all sides. Set aside to cool.

Put the anchovies on a cutting board and chop them. Then use the side of your knife to mash them even more, until it’s nearly a paste. Transfer the anchovies to a small lidded jar and add the remaining ¼ cup oil, the lemon juice, and one of the garlic cloves. Season with salt and pepper. Seal and shake well.

Rub the remaining garlic clove all over the inside of a large wooden bowl and then discard the clove. Add the lettuce to the bowl and dress with the vinaigrette. Add the croutons and use a vegetable peeler to shave large curls of Parmesan into the salad. Toss again and sprinkle with more pepper.

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