Hi friends, and welcome to Tumbleweed Tidings. I am so glad you are here! I don’t know about you, but my husband and I love a good Caesar salad. For most of my life, there was one kind of lettuce and that was iceberg. Life was simple, and the iceberg lettuce salad was a staple on most tables, whether eating at home or dining out. Then came the Caesar salad with it’s romaine lettuce which, in my small town, was definitely something new. When the Caesar first came into my purview back in the late 80’s, you could even get them made tableside at fancy restaurants. Eager to jump on this new trend, I decided to serve Caesar salad for the first course at a dinner party in our home, and even made my own croutons for the first time. I felt so sophisticated:)
Today I’m showing you a quick and easy way to elevate your Caesar Salad, while still keeping it simple enough to assemble in minutes. One of the nicest things about a basic Caesar salad is its simplicity, which typically consists of only four ingredients; romaine lettuce, croutons, grated parmesan cheese, and the dressing.
The older I get, simple works great for our household of two, so this salad fits the bill. To make it even easier, you can purchase romaine already chopped up, but I still prefer to cut up my own romaine lettuce. Then I use a good bottled dressing like New, buy the pre-shredded parmesan cheese at Costco, and purchase quality croutons.
Sometimes, however, I like to dress up the salad with a newly interpreted ingredient. So for this salad, I decided to try my hand at taking the parmesan cheese, and rather than putting it on the salad, making it into parmesan crisps. I have seen these done on various cooking platforms, but have never tried them myself. Well, I don’t know what took me so long, because these could not be easier!
Start with a baking sheet and line with parchment paper. For the parmesan cheese, you can either use the already grated or you can grate your own from a block of parmesan cheese, but do not use the green lidded shaker variety for this application. Take 1and 1/2 Tablespoon of the grated parmesan cheese and place in little haystacks, then gently pressing them down with your finger. Ten Tablespoons should yield about 6-8 crisps. You can modify this to make the size and quantity you need. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes until crisp and brown, with a nice lacy appearance. Allow to cool and remove from the baking sheet. These parmesan crisps are best used the first day you make them, but if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container.
To assemble the salad, cut romaine into desired bite-size pieces, and add the croutons and dressing. Toss all together until lettuce is lightly coated. If you are serving this as a wedge salad, cut the lettuce into a wedge, top with croutons and drizzle with dressing. Right before serving, add a couple of the parmesan crisps to the salad and enjoy!
This is the basic Caesar recipe that we know and love, but it is easy to add additional ingredients such as diced chicken, bacon bits or grilled shrimp to make it into more of a heartier salad or main course. Some restaurants add diced tomato to Caesar salads, but for me this doesn’t work. I love tomatoes, but not on a Caesar.
Sometimes, it only takes a small change to a recipe to turn it into something extra special. In the case of this Caesar salad, the addition of the parmesan crisps makes it look like much more trouble than it is. They not only look fancy, but they also taste great crumbled on the salad. When I served it to my husband last night, his reaction was “wow.” It doesn’t get much better than that!