I make a lot of Caesar salads, always have. I love them for their crunch, for their garlicky-anchovy-Parmesan wonderfulness.
Wylie has loved them since he was a wee toddler, and I converted many of his childhood friends to salad eaters by persuading them to taste my Caesar. Not that it was so special – it was really a minimalist one. I never felt croutons were worth the effort or calories (unless my brother Johnny makes them; then they're totally and one hundred percent worth it!). So I do without croutons. And for eons, I've done without the traditional coddled egg – just because Caesar was my quick go-to starter, and who wanted to coddle an egg?
But lately I've been thinking my Caesar could use an upgrade. No, not grilled chicken. (Horrors!) And I've never met a Caesar made with white anchovies I'd loved, so I'd stick with the salt-cured ones. In fact, very few futzed-with Caesars I've tasted have bettered a traditional one.
Still, I kept thinking I could improve it.
Got it! I'd bring back the egg, but instead of having one coddled egg that got so thoroughly mixed in no one would notice it, I'd use two gorgeously coddled eggs that you would very much notice, sort of broken into pieces so you could see and taste a just-starting to set golden gelatinous yolk here, a bit of white there. And I though a bit of lemon zest – an interloper, as it wasn't in the original Caesar recipe – would sing with the freshly grated Parmesan.
I tossed it up, breaking up the egg but not completely. Garnished it with extra parm and lemon zest, a few extra grindings of fresh black pepper. Oh, baby – it turned out pretty great.
You might say it's not legit, as it does without the croutons. You can add some if you like. But in my world, the less white bread, the better, and I don't miss it. OK, here goes. I'm saying it officially here: This is my new Caesar. Try it! And tell us how you like it.