Curtis separates a good Caesar salad from the bad by carefully blending up its signature creamy dressing, adding toasted crisp Parmesan cheese, croutons and prosciutto and topping the lot with a perfectly poached egg.
Caesar Salad with Poached Eggs, Crispy Prosciutto, and Parmesan Wafer
- Prosciutto and Parmesan Wafer:
- 4 thin slices prosciutto
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (2 to 3 ounces)
- 1 11-ounce baguette
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Caesar Dressing:
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 2 anchovy fillets
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
- 1 tablespoon water (optional)
- Eggs and Lettuce:
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 heads romaine lettuce, outer leaves removed, inner leaves torn into bite-size pieces, chilled
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with silicone baking mats. Mound the Parmesan cheese over 1 large baking sheet and spread to form a thin oval shape. Lay the prosciutto slices over the second baking sheet. Bake the cheese until it is golden, about 10 minutes. Bake the prosciutto until it is golden brown and crispy, about 10 minutes. Transfer the prosciutto to a plate lined with paper towels. Cool the prosciutto and Parmesan wafer completely (the prosciutto and wafer will continue to crisp as they cool).
- Using a serrated knife, remove the crust from the baguette, then tear the bread into bite-size pieces. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a heavy large ovenproof sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bread pieces and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake the croutons until they are golden brown and crisp on the outside but still slightly soft in the center, tossing occasionally, about 12 minutes. Alternatively, the croutons can be transferred to a baking sheet and baked. Set aside to cool.
- Finely chop the garlic, anchovy fillets, lemon juice, and egg yolk in a food processor. Add the Parmesan cheese and mustard and blend well. With the processor on, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and the grapeseed oil until the dressing is thick and creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If necessary, add enough water to thin the dressing to the desired consistency.
- Bring a large deep saucepan of water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir in the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl or cup and then gently transfer the egg to the simmering water. Repeat with the remaining 3 eggs. Reduce the heat to medium so that the water simmers gently. Poach the eggs until the whites are set but the yolks are still creamy, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, gently remove the eggs from the simmering water and set them on a paper towel or on an end piece of bread to absorb the excess water.
- Toss the lettuce in a large bowl with enough dressing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the lettuce to a large shallow serving bowl or divide the lettuce among 4 plates. Scatter the croutons over the lettuce.
- Top with the prosciutto, then the Parmesan wafer (breaking it apart for individual servings), and lastly, the poached eggs. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and serve.