Try an unexpected plating technique.
“For creative plating, hollow out an Italian bread stick and slice it into 3-inch sections. Season and bake until crisp. Quarter hearts of romaine lengthwise and insert into rings of bread. Drizzle with dressing and serve. (For the dressing, if you prefer a lighter anchovy taste, just use anchovy oil and leave out the anchovies).”
—Frank Rette, CCC, executive chef, retail, The College of New Jersey Dining Services, Ewing, N.J.
Make killer croutons.
“The croutons are the killer part of this salad. First, medium-dice ciabatta bread, deep-fry until golden brown, then toss the hot croutons in a bowl with shredded Parmesan, chopped Italian parsley, kosher salt and black pepper. Stir and rub all the goodness into the bread with your hands and add fresh lemon.”
—Matt Quist, corporate chef with Taher Inc., Minneapolis
Try a Spanish version.
“I’m not a fan of what most refer to as a Caesar salad (pile of romaine hearts overdressed with heavy, creamy dressing). But I’ve come to love this Spanish-inspired version that I served at an event last year and many times since. It includes leafy romaine with some hearts, Spanish anchovies (boquerones) and their vinegar, aged manchego (aged sheep’s milk cheese from Spain) shaved into big strips, chopped parsley, dehydrated garlic chips and diced, pickled piquillo peppers.”
—Eric Eisenberg, CEC, corporate executive chef, Swedish Health Services, Seattle
Use your blender for dressing.
“A salad we have absolutely been crushing on lately is a chicken Caesar salad with housemade anchovy-Caesar vinaigrette. While most store-bought Caesar dressings contain anchovies, we wanted to make it from scratch. We place the anchovies in a blender with minced garlic, lemon juice, mustard, sugar, olive oil, grated Parmesan and Worcestershire sauce. Adding the grilled chicken, this is an easy and fast dish to make.”
—Ryan Wheeler, unit marketing specialist, Sodexo, Liberty University, Lynchburg, Va.
Turn your Caesar salad into a slaw.
“Change up your slaw routine with Caesar dressing and bacon [added to shredded cabbage slaw mix]. It’s a delicious change that makes a perfect side dish everyone will love.
—Jami Boys, food blogger, An Oregon Cottage