Recipe: Deconstructed Caesar Salad

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Photo by Maria Robledo


Lemon juice is essential when this sauce is used to dress salads, providing the perfect bridge between green and dressing.

Serves 4

    • 1 head of romaine lettuce, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds
    • Four 1/2-inch thick slices crusty peasant bread or baguette
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or unsalted butter, melted
    • 2 garlic cloves, halved
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • About 1/4 cup All-Purpose Garlic, Olive Oil and Anchovy Sauce (see recipe)
    • About 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley.
    • 4 to 5 ounces Parmgiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 425°. Discard the tough outer leaves and trim the tough ends of the head of romaine. Slice the head lengthwise through the heart into four equal quarters, and place each quarter on a salad plate; reserve.

Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and brush with the olive oil or melted butter. Place in the oven and toast the bread until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Rub each slice lightly with a cut shallot or garlic clove; sprinkle with salt.

Drizzle 2 or 3 teaspoons of the sauce over each serving of romaine, followed by some chopped parsley. With a vegetable peeler or plane grater, shave long, flat strips of Parmigiano over the salads. Nestle the garlic toasts alongside and serve at once.

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Sally Schneider writes The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog about improvising as a daily practice. Her cookbook The Improvisational Cook is now out in paperback. More

Sally Schneider is the founder of The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog that inspires you to devise, invent, create, make it up as you go along, from design and cooking to cultivating the creative spirit. It's been called a "zeitgeist-perfect website." She is a regular contributor to public radio's The Splendid Table and the author of the best-selling cookbooks The Improvisational Cook and A New Way to Cook, which was recently named one of the best books of the decade by The Guardian. She has won numerous awards, including four James Beard awards, for her books and magazine writing.

Sally has worked as a journalist, editor, stylist, lecturer, restaurant chef, teacher, and small-space consultant, and once wrangled 600 live snails for the photographer Irving Penn. Her varied work has been the laboratory for the themes she writes and lectures about: improvising as an essential operating principle; cultivating resourcefulness and your inner artist; design, style, and food; and anything that is cost-effective, resourceful, and outside the box.
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