A fresh approach to the much-loved Caesar salad, this dish takes advantage of the season’s yummy bounty! Beware, though: Asparagus can overcook quickly. For the best results, make sure your asparagus is grilled to perfection—soft but still toothsome.
Serves 4 to 6
1 to 2 bunches asparagus, woody ends removed
1 tbsp olive oil
3 or 4 slices ciabatta or other light, airy bread, crusts removed
3 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 anchovy fillets, finely minced, or 2 tbsp chopped capers (optional)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Croutons: Using a sharp bread knife, slice the bread into 1-inch cubes, or tear the bread into 1-inch pieces by hand. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, toss the bread cubes with olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Toast in the oven until the croutons are well browned and fully dry, about 30 minutes. If you’d like to make extra croutons, simply double or triple the recipe and use a whole small loaf of bread.
Dressing: In a medium bowl, combine the minced garlic and salt and whisk until the mixture thickens slightly. Add in the Dijon and lemon juice and continue whisking. Add in the anchovies, if desired. While whisking vigorously, add the olive and vegetable oils in a thin stream. The dressing should be quite thick and emulsified. Stir in the Parmesan until well combined. Season to taste with pepper and more salt, and an extra squeeze of lemon, if desired. This recipe makes about 1 cup of dressing, which will keep for up to 10 days.
To grill the asparagus, get the barbecue or fire as hot as possible, around 500°F. Lightly oil the asparagus and place on the grill. Once the asparagus comes off the grill, it will continue cooking, so all you’re looking for is a nicely charred, semi-cooked stalk. Set asparagus aside to cool slightly before drizzling it with just enough dressing to coat. Garnish with the garlic croutons and serve immediately.