Inspired by the Original Caesar Salad from Caesar’s Restaurante Bar (published on this blog), I came up with this version of the salad sans egg. I made both salads the same day for my husband and son. They were clearly impressed – they couldn’t even tell that there was no egg in this recipe. The consistency is a little thinner than the original Caesar Salad recipe, but my end note clearly states how to thicken the dressing. As they told me in Mexico last week, “Buen Provecho” (Bon Appetit)!

Prep time: 25 to 30 minutes
Serves: 2 as main course; 4 as appetizer course

1 head Romaine lettuce, dark outer leaves discarded
1 tablespoon plain, nonfat yogurt or mayonnaise*
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (Grey Poupon® brand preferred)
2 teaspoons anchovy paste can be substituted
1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup oil (in a 3/4-cup measure, combine half each extra virgin olive oil and vegetable oil – a perfect blend!)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Garlic croutons, for garnish (can be substituted with plain baguette toasts or Kalamata olive bread toasts)
2 to 4 leaves of Italian (flat leaf) parsley, for garnish
2 to 4 pitted Kalamata olives, for garnish

1. Rinse lettuce leaves under cold water; spin them dry and gently pat with paper towels.

2. Refrigerate lettuce leaves for at least 1 hour or more (this can be done the night before or early in the morning the day of).

3. Meanwhile, in a large wooden or stainless steel bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, garlic, mustard, anchovy paste, Worchestershire sauce, vinegar, lime juice, the lesser amount of salt and black pepper until well blended; set aside.

4. Slowly whisk in the combined oils in a stream until dressing emulsifies and all oil is absorbed.

5. Stir half of the cheese into the dressing and reserve the other half. Taste and adjust salt level, if needed.

6. Add the whole Romaine lettuce leaves to the dressing in bowl and gently roll them around until they are thoroughly coated. Alternatively, tear the leaves into slightly larger than bite-size pieces and then coat them with the dressing.

7. Divide the salad evenly among 2 or 4 plates. Garnish each serving with remaining Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, a few croutons, 1 parsley leaf and 1 olive placed in center of salad.

Serve immediately.

*Note: Before tossing the lettuce leaves into the dressing in bowl, you may thicken the dressing by adding 1 additional tablespoon of plain yogurt or mayonnaise.

Also, rather than saving half the grated cheese for garnish, I prefer to stir it all into the dressing before coating the Romaine leaves.

Recipe inspired by Original Caesar Salad Recipe of Caesar Restaurante Bar, Tijuana, Mexico
Text and Photograph ©2011 Nancy DeLucia Real