Caesar Salad with Pancetta

May 14, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Serves 1
Author Notes

That it was invented in Tijuana, Mexico, by an Italian, I did not know until two years ago. I claimed it as American. That the original may not have included anchovies? I did not know! There's a lot I don't know. I have no problem with raw egg yolk, but in this version's dressing I adore the creaminess of a softly-cooked yellow... - Marie Viljoen —Marie Viljoen

Test Kitchen Notes

This salad is everything a Caesar should be -- assertive, complex, and rich -- with a few bonus points tacked on for the inspired use of pancetta (both on its own and as an instrument for crisping the homemade sourdough croutons). Marie Viljoen's dressing is mostly traditional (egg yolk, anchovy, garlic, olive oil) but veers towards the creative with the addition of lime juice, which contributes a pleasantly bitter hit of acid. If you find the notion of swiping each individual crouton with fresh garlic overwrought, trust us -- it's worth it. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 yolk from a lightly boiled egg (coddled for a minute or two in boiling water)
  • 2 Garlic cloves crushed fine
  • 3 Anchovy fillets, chopped small
  • Black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano
  • Salt
  • 1 Romaine lettuce head, cleaned and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 thick slices pancetta, cooked till crispy
  • 1 slice sourdough bread, torn into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1 Garlic clove, peeled, kept whole
  1. In a bowl beat the lime juice into the softly boiled egg yolk.
  2. Add the crushed garlic.
  3. Add the finely-chopped anchovies.
  4. Add black pepper.
  5. Gradually whisk in the oil.
  6. Add the Parmigiano.
  7. Taste. If you need salt, add it now.
  8. To the bowl, add the Romaine and toss well with your hands.
  9. Lick your fingers.
  10. In the same pan in which the pancetta crisped, toast the torn-up pieces of sourdough over medium heat. When crispy, rub each piece lightly with the whole garlic clove. Toss over salad.
  11. Add pieces of crispy pancetta.
  12. Enjoy with some cold, fruity white wine.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • mlara0208
  • High-Heeled Nana
    High-Heeled Nana
  • Rhonda35
  • maryvelasquez
  • mrslarkin

19 Reviews

brushjl July 24, 2020
agree great salad. of course I skipped the anchovies. I made the dressing separately, wanted to extend the salad's shelf life.
Cialina N. March 10, 2016
This is so good that I'm making it two days in a row. I was a little worried when I was making it since I've never coddled an egg before, but I followed the instructions and it came out PERFECTLY.

I doubled the recipe since I was cooking for two, but I ended up with more than enough dressing. I refrigerated the leftovers and it was still delicious the next day.
fearlessem May 17, 2012
This dressing was FANTASTIC. I used lemon because its what I had, but finally, a Caesar salad dressing recipe that to me had just the perfect proportions of everything! I licked it off of a spoon! And the pancetta was a fantastic addition...
mlara0208 January 25, 2012
I really liked your picture! I made it today with a few shortcuts (no croutons even though I'm sure they would be over the top), used minced garlic and anchovy paste. It was really good!!
High-Heeled N. September 2, 2010
Heart-broken that I have spent so many years NOT rubbing the garlic clove on the bread after toasting. I have done in every other way only because I "didn't have the time". I am just hoping I have croutons left for my dinner party tonight. I am a true convert ... next time I will have to make extra!! Thank you, thank you.
lrcintexas June 13, 2010
Excellent!!! This was very tasty and the pancetta was a nice addition.
Rhonda35 May 23, 2010
You had me at pancetta! I've never coddled an egg before, so I think I will have to give that a try. Sorry, I'm not sold on rubbing garlic on each crouton - I would either cook a little garlic in with the bread cubes or I'd toss the bread cubes with a small clove (minced) after they were toasted. Both salads sound yummy, but I lean toward this one.
Marie V. May 23, 2010
Lol - I understand the hesitation. A good way to cheat the garlic is to fry a slice of sourdough in pancetta drippings, then rub a clove over the slice, and then tear or cut it up. But the raw-rubbed garlic has a flavor all it's own :-) Glad to see we're sisters-in-pancetta.
Rhonda35 June 6, 2010
Finally made this salad tonight - wow! We loved the creaminess of the dressing and the flavor added by the crispy pancetta - thanks for sharing this, Marie.
maryvelasquez May 23, 2010
Yum. This was delicious. We just finished eating and couldn't resist mopping up the salad bowl with extra croutons to get every drop of the dressing. And I agree with A & M about rubbing the croutons with garlic--totally worth it.
Marie V. May 23, 2010
So glad! I'm a great mopper, too.
mrslarkin May 20, 2010
Congrats, Marie! This sounds so delicious.
Kelsey B. May 20, 2010
This week is going to be exceptionally hard, both these recipes are fantastic!
monkeymom May 20, 2010
I like the instruction to lick your fingers. Congrats!
Marie V. May 20, 2010
Thank you!
lastnightsdinner May 14, 2010
Lovely as usual, Marie.
Marie V. May 14, 2010
Hi, Miss Jen :-)
dymnyno May 14, 2010
The lightly boiled egg is called a coddled egg. I know that this recipe is delicious because yesterday I made a Caesar Salad (for the contest) and then I added some fried pancetta for my meat eater husband. It was great...I tried a bite or two myself.
Marie V. May 14, 2010
Huh! I didn't know that - I actually have coddling dishes for, well...coddling eggs, and didn't realize it applied to within-shell cooking, too. Thanks.

What do I use the coddling dishes for? Transporting things like individual lobster salads, or pate to picnics :-)