Caesar Salad is something that I learned to make when I was doing an internship at the San Francisco Chronicle during pastry school many many years ago. I remember the daunting task of repeatedly making Caesar Salad with garlicky croutons over and over again, until the entire food editing team approved. Looking back, it was a really unique experience and it trained me how to perfect my cooking skills, as well as my palate, and to look for the nuances in food. Since then, I have made a few different versions, including a Vegan Caesar Salad that is pretty darn good, but this Caesar Salad with Crispy Frico is absolutely divine because it has a crispy cheesy Frico, instead of croutons.
If you haven’t had a homemade Frico, you don’t know what you’re missing. Maybe you’ve noshed on those Parmesan crisps they sell at Costco and Trader Joe’s, you know those bite-sized cheesy things that you can’t stop eating? A true Italian Frico is made with cheese, potatoes and seasonings, but this Frico is all about pure Parmesan, nothing else. Baking Parmesan in a flattened-out round for a few minutes turns fresh cheese, crispy, and it becomes the most delectable salad accoutrement you’ve encountered. I think it’s fun to leave the Frico whole for presentation, but then crack it up into multiple pieces to toss into the salad. A Frico definitely changes the entire Caesar Salad experience and you won’t miss the croutons. If you happen to be eating only low-carb — this recipe is right up your alley. I enjoy it because it’s delicious, and pretty fun to make.
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
pinch of black pepper
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove peeled
2 anchovy fillets minced, or 1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
6 cups mixed greens – spinach, kale, romaine, spring lettuce etc.
1/4 red onion, sliced
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, form cheese into a 8-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick – sprinkle top with pepper. Bake for 10-14 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and let cool on parchment.
- In a small food processor or blender, add yolk, lemon juice, garlic, anchovy, mustard, salt and pepper. Puree until combined for 1 minute. While processor is running, drizzle in oil slowly, until dressing thickens and emulsifies.
- Add greens and onion to bowl. Spoon half of dressing over top and toss. Add more dressing, if necessary. Serve salad with Frico, breaking it apart to incorporate into greens. Enjoy!