Romaine Salad with Candied Walnuts

Romaine Salad

Does anybody out there remember when Caesar salad was prepared and served table-side at good restaurants?  You would place your order and the waiter would roll up a cart laden with the ingredients, and start the process of making your salad. In a large wooden salad bowl the garlic and anchovies would be blended together , the coddled egg added, and the lemon juice drizzled in to the mixture.  Olive oil would be whisked in and the crisp, fresh romaine leaves added to the bowl and gently turned over in the dressing.  The final flourish of tossing in the croutons and showering the salad with freshly grated Parmesan cheese completed the  process.  Then, your custom-made salad was served, on chilled plates, and you settled back to savor the moment.  Fast forward a couple of decades and you will find Caesar salad is ubiquitous, and some of it is quite bad.  Bottled dressing, less than fresh lettuce, and hard, dry croutons…no amount of grilled chicken, shrimp, or steak atop a bad salad can remedy the problem.  But, to the rescue come the folks at Roberta’s restaurant in New York City.  They have elevated a romaine salad (eerily similar to “Caesar”) to new heights.  It’s still crispy, fresh romaine leaves, tossed with dressing and sprinkled with cheese, but, oh what a dressing!  The combination of roasted garlic, mustard, lemon, anchovies, and two vinegars add a depth of flavor that is beyond compare.  The cheese is pecorino, and, in place of croutons, the salad is showered with candied walnuts (try not to eat too many of them before you actually serve the salad).  Once you try this version of “Caesar” you will remember how good this classic salad can be.  And, because I didn’t alter a single component in this recipe, I will send you here to learn all about it.  Enjoy!

Romaine Salad

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