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Bacon Caesar Salad from scratch in 15 minutes

March 7, 2014

I love this Bacon Caeser Salad recipe, it's quick to make and crammed with great textures and flavours all infused with bacon-y goodness. This recipe also introduces one of my favourite recent inventions - Bacon-Fried Cripsy Capers - tiny, crunchy blooms that explode with salty spice when bitten into and are laughably easy to make.

That's right - I insist that you start making crispy capers at home. I accidentally came across them for the first time a few years ago at a Milestones restauarant in the Toronto airport (of all places), where I ate a Caeser Salad topped with tiny, crunchy capers and fell in love. Up until then, I hadn't had much interest in capers at all. In fact, in my childhood and youth I mistakenly thought they were some sort of strange pickled seafood/clam thingy (due to their shape, colour and salty brine) and it wasn't until my 20's that I learned they are actually the edible flower buds of the caper bush.

Sure, capers are tasty straight from the jar topping a salad or in a homemade tartar sauce, but when these little buds hit hot oil, something magical happens. They puff, sizzle and bloom into tiny green flowers, with a crispy light crunch that melts in your mouth.

Now on to this recipe for Bacon Caesar Salad in only 15 minutes that I promised you. Although you are making every single component of this salad from scratch (toppings, croutons and dressing), when preparing the recipe as follows in order, every step should flow smoothly into the next and it really only takes 15 minutes once you've got the hang of it, most of it working with one small pan.

Notes on ingredients: Yes, the toppings are not shall we say "health food", but don't forget, it's just three strips of bacon you're using so it's actually not that much - let go of bacon guilt and enjoy. This Caesar dressing recipe uses mayo rather than a coddled egg as an emulsifier, making it a little easier and safer to whip up on a busy night. Look for capers in the pickles and olives section of the grocery store.

 

Bacon Caesar Salad with Crispy Capers & Bacon Croutons

Makes two dinner-sized portions or four side salads

Ingredients:

One head of Romaine lettuce

3 strips of bacon

2 tablespoons capers

3 slices of bread (dry and/or stale bread works great here)

 

Dressing Ingredients:

Juice of 1/2 a lemon (use a whole lemon if you like extra zing)

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

2 tablespoons mayo (light works fine)

1 clove of garlic

2 anchovies (optional, of course!)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Dash of Worcestershire

Dash of hot sauce or Sriracha

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Start by doing your prep work:

- Wash, dry and chop the lettuce into bite sized pieces, set aside in a large bowl.

- Spoon the capers out of their jar into a small bowl lined with paper towel to dry for frying later.

- Chop the bread into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

- Get all your dressing ingredients together along with your hand blender w/ container, or blender for mixing. Set aside.

- Cover a large plate with paper towel for cooling fried capers, bacon and croutons.

1. Bacon: Chop the bacon into bite-sized pieces and cook in a small frying pan over medium heat until crispy and browned. Remove from the pan and set on paper towels to cool.

2. Bacon-Fried Capers: Now it's time to 'bacon-fry' some capers. Make sure they are all sort-of dried off, a little remaining moisture is fine as they are technically 'a pickle' but you don't want them going into the heat too wet.

Tip them gently into the frying pan, leaving the heat on medium and let the capers sizzle up and fry, gently shaking the pan from time to time to turn them, watching for opening leaves and a little light browning to tell you that they are done - approximately 3 minutes. The sound of the sizzle will die down when they are crispy, remove them from the pan and set on paper towels to cool.

3. Croutons: If there is a lot of excess bacon fat (now deliciously caper-flavoured) in the pan, drain some away, but leave enough to coat your croutons as you fry them. Put your bread in the pan and add a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Toast for 3-4 minutes on medium, tossing or stirring occasionally, until golden brown, then remove from the pan and set on paper towels to cool.

4. Dressing: Everything on the Caesar dressing ingredients list goes into the mixing container or blender at once - garlic clove, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, anchovy, olive oil, Parmesan cheese. Top with a dash of Worcestershire and hot sauce, and a pinch of salt and  black pepper, then blend with your hand blender, blender or food processor until smooth and thick. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

5. Assemble Salad: At this point you can either dress all the lettuce at once and toss, or serve salads in individual bowls and drizzle dressing over each portion. Top with croutons, bacon, crispy capers and a little extra Parmesan cheese.

Hail Bacon Caesar!

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I love this salad recipe, thank you for sharing with us!!! I try to made this and it taste so goood!!!! Really like it alot! Thank you Gwen :)

Thanks for sharing this wonder full food recipe.

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