I know it may sound strange, but crisp raw asparagus makes a wonderful salad. Here, it's chopped into bite-sized pieces and tossed with a creamy Caesar vinaigrette and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
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In his latest cookbook, Michael Ruhlman has included a dressing model that every home cook should try: Lemon-Pepper Vinaigrette, Two Ways. It's a tangy dressing made from lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, Parmigiano, and pepper that can be whisked up in just a few minutes or transformed into a stand up Caesar with the addition of an egg yolk and a few anchovies. It's the sort of light, lemony dressing that gently coats leaves of crisp romaine perfectly, making for a salad that acts at a simple, bright palate awakener, and of course, a brilliant accompaniment to Ruhlman's Perfect Roast Chicken.
Anyone out there who isn't normally a fan of Caesar salad should give it one more try, topped with poached eggs. The runny yolk adds richness, and the slippery whites add another texture to an already complex salad. Growing up in Toronto, my Dad (and namesake) was such a big fan of this dish a local restaurant even put in on the menu as the 'Sid Caesar'.