Caesar Salad is such an old school thing, and it’s a classic for a reason… because it’s really good! A salad and its dressing are always better – in both taste and consistency – when made fresh. That’s why Michael decided to do a Caesar Salad tableside at Fi’lia. This cart was designed from scratch (with a little scale modeling by Director of Licensing Operations and wine guy Eric Larkee!) to be efficient and functional in the room. However, some of its best attributes are the intangibles, like the ridiculous aroma that wafts through the dining room when the cart is near. Cue the garlic croutons toasted to order! A cast iron griddle or large pan on your stovetop will do the trick at home. The recipe adds a bit of radicchio to give the salad a bitter note that cuts through the creamy richness of the dressing. You could choose to leave it out or make it a little fancy like we do in the restaurant with the long and delicate treviso. Michael and chef de cuisine Tim Piazza will be on NBC 6 this morning showing us how it’s done. Tune in here at 11:50 a.m. to watch and learn!
Fi’lia Caesar Salad
1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Ciabatta loaf, sliced lengthwise
3 cloves of garlic
1 can oil-packed whole white anchovies, filleted and rinsed
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon Worcester sauce
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ a lemon
2 ounces grated parmigiano reggiano
2 whole romaine lettuce hearts, washed and thoroughly dried
½ head of radicchio, roughly chopped
Place a cast iron griddle or pan over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, combine butter, minced garlic and salt, mixing with a fork until fully incorporated. Spread in a generous layer onto bread slices. When the griddle is hot but not smoking, place cut side down to toast, turning after 2-3 minutes or when golden brown. Pay attention to croutons so they don’t burn. Once toasted on the other side, remove from the heat and give them a rough chop.
Into a wooden bowl, add the cloves of garlic and rub around the bowl with two forks to mash them up. Then add the anchovies; smash them, too. Add the yolk, mustard, Worcester sauce and pepper and mix with a fork until incorporated. Very slowly whisk in a fine drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to emulsify the dressing. Finish by whisking in the lemon juice to thin it back down and adding the cheese, reserving half for plating. Add the lettuce and radicchio and mix to evenly dress. Plate the salad and top with croutons, then add the remaining cheese.