Stacked Caesar Salad with Parmesan Rafts

James Carrier

Notes: This salad is dramatic when made with whole inner romaine lettuce leaves (often sold as "romaine hearts"), but you can substitute 4 quarts bite-size pieces of romaine; in step 5, arrange the parmesan curls on top of the mixed salad. To make the curls, pull a vegetable peeler across the block of cheese.

Yield: Makes 4 to 6 main-dish servings
Total:
Recipe from Sunset

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Recipe Time

Total: 1 Hour

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 521
  • Calories from fat: 67%
  • Protein: 20g
  • Fat: 39g
  • Saturated fat: 10g
  • Carbohydrate: 25g
  • Fiber: 2.8g
  • Sodium: 1234mg
  • Cholesterol: 28mg

Ingredients

  • 1 sourdough baguette (about 2 in. wide; 8 to 12 oz.)
  • About 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/3 cups finely shredded parmesan cheese (about 1/4 lb.)
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 9 canned anchovy fillets, drained
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
  • About 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 quarts tender inner romaine lettuce leaves (max. 8 in. long, 1 1/3 lb. total; see notes), rinsed and crisped
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese curls (each about 3 in. long and 1 in. wide, 3 oz. total; see notes)

Preparation

  1. 1. To make parmesan rafts, cut baguette into diagonal slices 1/4 inch thick and 4 to 6 inches long. Lightly brush both sides of each slice with olive oil, using 3 to 4 tablespoons total. Arrange in a single layer in 2 shallow 12- by 17-inch baking pans.
  2. 2. Bake in a 325° regular or convection oven for 5 minutes. Sprinkle slices evenly with 1 cup shredded parmesan. Bake until cheese is melted and bread is golden, 10 to 12 minutes longer.
  3. 3. In a blender or food processor, whirl 9 tablespoons olive oil, 1/3 cup shredded parmesan, lemon juice, anchovies, garlic, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until smooth.
  4. 4. Place lettuce in a large bowl and parmesan rafts in another. Drizzle 2/3 of the dressing over lettuce and remaining 1/3 over rafts. Mix rafts to coat with dressing; with your hands or two spoons, gently lift and mix lettuce to coat.
  5. 5. Divide 1/3 of the lettuce equally among dinner plates, arranging all leaves on each plate in the same direction. Arrange 1/3 of the parmesan rafts equally on top, at right angles to leaves, and add 1/3 of the parmesan curls. Repeat to layer remaining lettuce, rafts, and curls. Season salads to taste with more salt.
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