I recently had a spectacular Caesar salad at Pesto Cafe in Sebastopol, CA. The owner promised us that we wouldn’t be able to stop licking the bowl because the dressing was so good—and she was right. As we raved about its deliciousness, she shared the secret ingredient with us—ginger. It seemed strange, but we couldn’t argue with the addictiveness of the salad dressing, so I decided to give it a try. I still recommend heading to Sebastopol the next time you get a chance and stopping by the Pesto Cafe for their version, but until that is a possibility, try my knock-off.
1 clove garlic, smashed
3 anchovy fillets, plus more for garnish
1 egg yolk
1 tsp minced ginger
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp Delicate Extra Virgin Olive Oil, such as Koroneiki
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/8 cup shaved Parmesan, plus more for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
2 heads Romaine lettuce, washed, cored and torn into fork-size pieces
2 thick slices good bread, such as sourdough or French, preferably a little stale, cut into 1/2" cubes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a bowl, combine bread cubes and 1 tbsp olive oil. Salt lightly. Spread cubes on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until crisp.
While croutons bake, combine garlic, anchovy fillets, egg yolk, ginger and lemon juice and zest in a blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth.
With machine running, slowly stream in 1/4 cup olive oil until dressing is very creamy and thick. Add Parmesan and pulse until dressing is slightly chunky but well-combined, about 45 seconds. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble salad, toss together lettuce, croutons and dressing. Divide onto 2-4 plates. Garnish with Parmesan, black pepper and additional anchovy fillets if desired.