An updated Caesar salad recipe with extra vegetables and tiny baby kale tossed with a homemade Caesar dressing and topped off with Big flakes of Parmesan and buttery croutons. You can make this recipe without mayonnaise. Simply substitute two egg yolks for the mayonnaise portion, and whisk in additional extra virgin olive oil (about 1/4 cup) until the desired dressing consistency is reached.
There is a taller clone on the other side of the counter from me. I hand her a cutting board and knife and push a leftover chicken breast in her direction. On my side there are onions and celery and bright orange carrots. I shove the carrots towards her, too.
Her music is playing through the speakers, carefully chosen. Somehow in the last two years, the influence of school friends has become the driving force in her preferences rather than the various subgenres of alternative indie rock that her mom and dad lean towards. Still, there are artists and songs with considerable overlap, and so a playlist of sorts is serving as the backdrop to our dinnertime antics.
Once the ingredients are chopped into small pieces, my clone comes around the counter and takes over at the stove. She asks questions when she’s uncertain, but the majority of our conversation is focused around obtaining track cleats, how last night’s sleepover was, and her singing along to the music.
She stirs the vegetables in the pot with a wooden spatula, her grip sure and certain, but a bit of hesitance still in her actions. She always seems to be waiting for me to make suggestions.
With the soup simmering, I set her on the task of making croutons, while I start in on the salad dressing. In our small kitchen we bump shoulders and poke each other playfully to encourage the other to move away from whatever it is they’re blocking. Her chestnut hair swings around in a high ponytail while mine hangs braided over my shoulder.
I try to never take these small moments for granted. I know how quickly the pendulum of adolescence shifts, and suddenly we’ll be facing off. My voice raised and stern. Her voice raised and reckless. Emotion driving them both. Instead, I’ll remember that it always comes back to this and focus on the now.
I have four interns this week. They lounge around after breakfast instead of heading out the door. They stay flopped on the couch and sprawled across the living room rug in pajamas until I shoo them from the room, demanding they return when dressed even as I sit at the computer unshowered in my leggings and an oversized sweater. Parenting is often a hypocritical sport.
Today, one small intern sat on the living room rug, blue baby blanket in his fist, staring out the window at the all white landscape. “Mom, how many more days until spring gets here? I don’t like the snow anymore.” Spring break often looks a bit more like a second winter break here. Still, I’m holding on to the hope that the equinox tomorrow serves as more turning point than it did last year. We could use a bit of sunshine around these parts.
For now I’ll make do with salads. This one is a bit of an untraditional Caesar. I prefer it over tradition, though. What started as randomly adding whatever we had on hand has become a very specific mix of kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, and spring onions that only serve to increase my love for this salad. I’ve given two dressing methods (you’ll find the raw egg yolk version in the “notes”), and my words of wisdom would be the dressing is only as good as the ingredients you add into it.
I tend towards high quality mayonnaise with as few ingredients as possible (Sir Kensington’s has a short list of GMO-free ingredients and is what I use when I opt for the mayo method) and Dijon mustard with a kick. My sister introduced me to Maille after her first trip to France, and it’s become my Dijon of choice. I like the added brine of the anchovies, but if smashing tiny fish isn’t your thing, just double the Worcestershire.
I am perhaps biased, but I think this pairs flawlessly alongside a steaming bowl of soup as you wait for spring to arrive. Eventually it will come, and I’ll be ready.
For the croutons: I mixed 2 tablespoons of melted butter with 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan. I tossed that with 4 cups of bread chunks from a leftover loaf. I baked at 375ºF for 15 minutes, stirring once about halfway through.
You can make this recipe without mayonnaise. Simply substitute two egg yolks for the mayonnaise portion, and whisk in additional extra virgin olive oil (about 1/4 cup) until the desired dressing consistency is reached.