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Celery Caesar Salad with Toasted Breadcrumbs

Now that I moved away from Boston, I cannot help but crave the quintessential Celery Caesar with Toasted Breadcrumbs from Coppa. It's one of their most popular dishes: the combination of the creamy Caesar dressing with the sweet crunch of the finely sliced celery, and the toasty anchovy oil laced breadcrumbs make this a serious power move salad. I made this more accessible for the home cook by using classic panko breadcrumbs and the oil from the anchovy tin instead of colatura. Yes, you can make your own homemade Caesar Dressing! It will taste insanely good as long as you have high quality cheese + organic eggs. Be sure to use lots of fresh cracked black pepper and a little extra Parmigiano, and you'll be adding this to your Italian pasta dinner nights ASAP. Serves 4




INGREDIENTS:

For the Caesar dressing

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 4 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus additional for the salad

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

  • 3 anchovies packed in olive oil, finely chopped

  • salt and pepper

For the Celery Salad

  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

  • 1 teaspoon anchovy oil from tin

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano, set aside 1 tsp for breadcrumbs

  • salt and pepper

  • 8 celery stalks, trimmed, cut into 2 inch sticks

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. For the dressing, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice and zest. Take the vegetable oil, while continually whisking, slowly pour the oil into the yolk mixture until fully emulsified. If texture is too thick, add an additional 1-2 Tbsps of oil if needed.

  2. Whisk in the grated cheese, chopped anchovies, garlic, and salt and pepper. Using an immersion blender, pulse the entire mixture together to form a smooth dressing. Taste for seasoning, add extra fresh cracked black pepper and salt, if needed, then chill in the fridge until ready to use.

  3. For the breadcrumbs, set the oven at 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. In a small bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs, anchovy oil, olive oil, only 1 tsp of the grated cheese, and season with salt and pepper.

  4. Transfer the breadcrumb mixture to the lined baking sheet, and place in the oven on the lower rack. Toast the breadcrumbs for about 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently until evenly golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

  5. For combining the salad, take the 2 inch celery sticks and thinly slice them lengthwise into skinny strips. Absorb any additional water or moisture from the celery with a towel, then transfer to a mixing bowl.

  6. Sprinkle the sliced celery with the remaining 1/4 cup grated cheese, season with pepper, and pour in the chilled Caesar dressing. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if you like. Toss to combine, divide amongst four plates, then garnish each salad with the toasted breadcrumbs and the chives. Serve immediately.

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