Grilled Romaine Salad with IPA Caesar Dressing
In the world of salad dressing, there isn’t a more fiercely debated member than Caesar. Some swear that the only way to make it is by hand, table side, others claim blasphemy if not strictly adhering to the original recipe, invited in the 1920’s in Tijuana Mexico by Caesar Cardini, while some insist that it’s not Caesar dressing without anchovies. All of these camps, win or lose, are still people who get riled up over a sauce that goes over lettuce, therefore I can’t fully respect any of them. It’s a condiment, lighten up.
My version, by sheer inclusion of the beer, can never really be held up as a true Caesar dressing. And while anchovies aren’t in the original version, the anchovy heavy Worcestershire sauce that was use is no longer available, making them essential to grab that true taste.
The inspiration for this dish came from a guy who used to frequent the restaurant I work at in college. He would order a Caesar salad, no grilled chicken thank-you-very-much, a shot of IPA, and a chocolate milk shake made with equal parts stout and milk. He would then pour about a tablespoon of the IPA on his salad and drink the rest. At the time I thought it was really strange, but he was a good tipper and I was a good smiler (all you need when you’re 19 and bring guys beer and food) so I encouraged his habits. The more I saw him, watched his obvious excitement when his beer flavored meal arrived, the more I understood how all those flavors worked (although I’m not sure I’d pair a milk shake with a Caesar salad).
It stayed with me, this beer-salad-beer-milk-shake diet he seemed to live on, and now I’m on board. He was on to something.
This is how I make homemade croutons.