Caesar Salad with Lemon Caesar Dressing and Garlic Croutons

Sometimes I just crave a good caesar salad. By good, I mean one with homemade garlic croutons, a dressing that's not too thick or mayonnaisey, and flavorful chicken or shrimp to top it off. I'm lucky to now work a few block from Fuel, which boasts healthy food that is not made by a machine (their terminology, not mine.) A friend of mine recommended that I try their caesar because she really liked that the dressing had a lot of lemon flavor and wasn't very thick. So last week I ordered up a caesar salad with chicken for take out. I was really happy with the salad, the size was good for a lunch portion, the dressing was amazing and the chicken was flavorful. 

Well a few days later, the craving struck again and I figured instead of spending $10 on lunch, I'd just go buy the ingredients and make a delicious caesar salad myself. 

I wish I could share the dressing recipe with you because it was really flavorful but the truth is I just kind of winged it. I looked up a bunch of caesar dressing recipes and just kept adjusting it until it had enough lemon flavor and the right consistency. But I'll outline the process for you below anyway. 

Sorry for the blurry cell phone pic

Lemon Caesar Dressing: 
  • Roast 3 or 4 garlic cloves (Take raw garlic cloves, put a few drops of extra virgin olive oil on top of them, and then wrap them in tin foil and pop them in the oven on 350 for about 10-15 minutes)
  • In blender combine roasted garlic, with one anchovy filet, 1 tsp of mayonnaise, a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese or a little more, and the juice of two lemons 
  • Blend until all ingredients are combined 
  • Drizzle in 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of olive oil while the blender is on medium low
  • Add pepper to taste

Garlic Croutons: 
  • Tear up good French or Italian bread into bite sized pieces 
  • Toss with extra virgin olive oil and 2 garlic cloves (minced), and 2 Tbsp. of clarified butter
  • Put on a cookie tray and broil until brown, flip croutons and broil again 

Parmesan Crisps:
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  • Spread 1/2 cup of grated parmesan into the shape of a square or rectangle
  • Place about 8 inches from broiler
  • Cook until parmesan is bubbling and browning. Be careful not to burn 
  • Remove from oven and let it cool slightly, transfer to a paper towel to remove access grease and then cut into strips

Spicy Shrimp: 
  • I used jumbo pre-cooked frozen shrimp
  • Remove tails and toss in 1 tbsp of olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic, old bay seasoning, paprika and some cayenne pepper
  • Put in oven, under broiler for 3-5 minutes or until just heated

To construct your salad, wash and then cut or tear your romaine lettuce. Put in a large mixing bowl and drizzle salad dressing and mix. Add a few handfuls of croutons and mix in with dressed lettuce. Plate your lettuce and add parmesan crisps and shrimp on top. 

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