Smokey Caesar Salad with Rosemary

May 10, 2010

Author Notes: I used to travel all the time for work to Houston, and a few of my favorite restaurants there made caesars with a smokey edge to them, once I even had one with the romaine grilled over mesquite wood, and it was out of this world. This dressing is my take on these southern style caesars, a little smokey from the pimenton, and with rosemary thrown in for some herbal interest. Both the dressing and crouton recipes will make more than you need for a single salad, but I have built my recipes to accommodate my greedy kids who would kill me if I only made enough for a single salad at a time. This recipe calls for making a mayo from scratch, but if you don't have the time, or can't be bothered, substituting a good quality store bought mayo will work in a pinch. - Oui, ChefOui, Chef

Food52 Review: Smoked paprika and rosemary are usually show-stealing flavors, but Oui, Chef applies them in measured amounts so that his otherwise classic Caesar dressing is accented and rounded by a restrained smoky, earthy quality. The lemon zest is a thoughtful addition, supplying lightness and fragrance without extra acid. Though the leftover rosemary croutons make for an addictive snack, as Oui, Chef notes, you can easily cut that part of the recipe (by half or more) if you're only using one head of romaine. - KristenThe Editors

Serves: 6-8


  • 1 large, organic farm fresh egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice - to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan reggiano
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves finely minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste, or 3 anchovy filets, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon pimenton (smoked spanish paprika)
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Up to 1/4 cup of water to thin the dressing
  • 9 cups hearty artisanal bread, cut into 1/2” cubes
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1+ heads of romaine lettuce (depending on how many people you need to serve)
In This Recipe


  1. If making the mayo from scratch, place the first 4 ingredients into a mixing bowl, and using a whisk, mix them all together. Add the oil slowly, starting with just a few drops at a time, while whisking vigorously.  When the emulsion becomes creamy, you may increase the speed with which you add the oil to a thin stream. From the beginning the mixture should be thick enough to hold its shape and look luscious and creamy. Add the oil too quickly and it will break, turning thin and soupy, so be careful.  When all the oil is incorporated add remaining lemon juice to taste.  If the mayonnaise is too thick, it can be thinned by whisking in a little water.
  2. Next, take 1 cup of your mayo (fresh or store bought) and add the next 9 ingredients to it, thin with a little water to achieve a salad dressing consistency. Taste for seasoning and reserve.
  3. For the croutons, preheat your oven to 375 F. Place the next 4 ingredients into a large bowl, and toss with your hands until all the bread cubes are coated with the oil. Pour the cubes onto a baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Place the sheet tray in the oven and bake the croutons until golden brown, approximately 10-12 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them cool on a rack to room temperature before placing in an air-tight container for storage. This recipe will make more than you will need for a single salad, but these things are so good, you’ll be very happy to have extras.
  4. Wash and dry the romaine leaves, then tear them into bite sized pieces, place them in a bowl and cover them with a damp cloth. keep refrigerated until you are ready to dress your salad.
  5. To serve, toss the lettuce with just enough dressing to fully coat the greens, but not enough to drown them. Plate the salad, and top with a sprinkling of croutons and a few slivers of freshly peeled parmesan.

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