This is by far my favorite salad. A couple of years ago you would never have heard those words coming from my mouth. I never liked salad, and you know the endless bottles of dressing at the grocery store? I could not get a taste for a single one. At restaurants I would opt for a fruit cocktail, as my dinner companions looked at me as if I were a child. Then one cold night in February we went to a tavern for my husband’s birthday (they supposedly had the best prime rib everrr!), I was in my 3rd month of pregnancy and the thought of pasta, steak, or fish made my stomach churn (you know how they call it “morning sickness”, well I had “all damn day sickness”, I’m sure many can relate). So I strolled to the salad bar in search of fruit cocktail or chocolate pudding, but no such luck, only salad, so I sparsely layered pieces of lettuce with a drop of dressing onto my plate, and made my way back to the table. I put a piece (and I mean a single piece) of lettuce in my mouth, with my water close by to choke it down if need be, but surprisingly I liked it! After that night I’ve tried countless salads and dressings, and have thoroughly enjoyed them. This salad in particular, I enjoy the most. This recipe comes from my mom once again, and I could seriously live on the homemade, salty, ciabatta croutons alone. There is a raw egg yolk in the dressing, raw eggs do not scare me for some reason, maybe because of the endless spoonfuls of batter I have consumed since my childhood without as much as a stomachache (knock on wood).
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small ciabatta loaf
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 garlic cloves minced
2 to 3 flat anchovies, drained and rinsed with warm water
1 egg yolk
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 heads of romaine lettuce hearts torn into bite size pieces
1/4 cup of shaved fresh parmesan
First make the croutons. In a large frying pan add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
Cut the ciabatta loaf into bite size cubes.
Add ciabatta cubes to the oil and cook over medium heat.
Continue cooking the ciabatta cubes and flip them until they are golden brown on all sides. Remove from heat and season with salt to taste.
Cut or tear the romaine into bite size pieces (some people do not believe in cutting lettuce, I always do, I’m a rebel).
Now we will make the dressing. In a large bowl add garlic, anchovies, salt and pepper to taste. Mash with the back of a fork until anchovies and garlic are thoroughly mashed and incorporated together (make sure you take the time to mash these well).
Whisk in the egg yolk and lemon juice.
Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Add lettuce, parmesan cheese, and croutons and toss to combine. Serve immediately.