Did you know that a popular restaurant I’ll call Restaurant X has a Caesar on its menu that weighs in at 600 calories and 43 (yes, 43!) grams of fat? That’s nearly 70% of your daily recommended intake! Ridiculously insane, right? Though Caesar is a classic, even classics can stand updating now and again—and this is definitely one of those times.
For the salad
1/2 whole wheat baguette cut on a diagonal into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 Romaine lettuce hearts, trimmed and leaves separated
One 14-ounce can hearts of palm, drained, rinsed, and thinly sliced crosswise
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Asian Almonds (page 00), optional
For the dressing
5 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Heat the oven to 375°F. To make the croutons, place the sliced bread on a rimmed baking sheet and brush one side with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and garlic powder and bake in the oven until both sides are golden brown, about 12 minutes total, turning the croutons over midway through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a large salad bowl. Add the lettuce and hearts of palm and toss to coat with the dressing. Top with the croutons and spiced almonds and finish with a little grated Parmesan.
You know the bread ends and heels you’re always throwing away? They’re perfect for turning into croutons and breadcrumbs. So save them up in a gallon size resealable freezer bag, toss them with a little oil and salt, and toast in the oven for a crunchy freebie.
Candice Kumai¬–aka, the Stiletto Chef–lives in Los Angeles. The above recipe is an excerpt from her upcoming cookbook ‘Pretty Delicious,’ out in Winter 2010/11 with Rodale Publishers. Keep up with Candice by following her on Twitter and Facebook.