The Best Ever Roasted Garlic Caesar Salad
This roasted garlic Caesar salad isn’t strictly a Caesar because I have added some toppings that I enjoy and that I think you will enjoy as well, namely chopped dill and mint + pecorino breadcrumbs. Putting seasoned, cheesy, crunchy breadcrumbs on a salad is like putting croutons on a salad but it doesn’t hurt your mouth as much. Have I beat the breadcrumb thing to death yet? This is how I cook. I make something, then I make other things using that thing. By my calculation I have one more meal to make with the remaining pecorino breadcrumbs in my pantry. Any ideas?
This recipe is from the Roberta’s Pizza cookbook. Actually the whole salad is a classic Roberta’s jam. I can’t find any info about their addition of mint and breadcrumbs but when I lived in Brooklyn we lived on the same street and I ate this like 1-2x a week. Can anyone out there confirm if they are still making their Caesar this way?
Anyway, I recommend little gem lettuce for any salad, but especially this one. The crisp little nooks capture all the dressing and breadcrumb crunchies. Little gem is like romaine but a mini version, with small and very crisp leaves. Typically found at farmer’s markets but I have been seeing it pop up at Whole Foods.
How to Make Parmesan Breadcrumbs
Speaking of breadcrumb crunchies, here’s a little mini recipe on how to make the best breadcrumbs using up your day old or leftover bread.
4 cloves garlic
5 ounces sourdough or other crusty bread, crust removed, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
¼ cup olive oil
Heat oven to 400F.
Pulse garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add bread, lemon zest and cheese and pulse until coarse crumbs form; season with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. Cook breadcrumb mixture, stirring often, until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer breadcrumb mixture with a slotted spoon to a rimmed baking sheet.
Toast in the oven for 3-4 minutes until evenly brown and crisp. Let cool completely. Store in a cool, dry place for 2-3 weeks.
Roasted Garlic Caesar Salad
- 2 heads little gem lettuce or romaine
- 1 whole head garlic roasted
- 1 raw clove garlic
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 anchovies
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 3/4 cup good olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
- 1/4 cup pecorino breadcrumbs
- Remove root end from lettuce and separate into leaves, then chop into 2" pieces.
- Combine roasted and raw garlic, mustard, vinegar, yolks, anchovies and lemon juice in a food processor. With the motor running, very slowly stream in olive oil until dressing is thick and opaque. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Drizzle dressing over salad leaves, the top with mint, dill and breadcrumbs. Serve with additional lemon if desired.
How to Roast Garlic
Heat oven to 400F. Take 4-5 (or more or less) whole heads of garlic and cut the pointed top off with a serrated knife so that most of the garlic cloves are now exposed to air. Place in a oven-safe dish and drizzle lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper. Top with a lid or cover tightly with foil. Roast for 30-40 minutes. Check them around 20 minutes. The garlic cloves that you can see at the top should be a toasted, caramel color and tender when pierced with a knife.
Let them cool completely and you should be able to squeeze them right out of their skins.