bacon wrapped shrimp caesar salad with parmesan crumbs

Caesar salad is on almost every menu in the US, even some Thai restaurants I’ve been to here, which I find annoying and very wrong. A Caesar salad isn’t something I usually order unless choices are limited. Mostly, the Caesar salads I’ve eaten here have been some sorrowful lettuce leaves drowned in bottled dressing and topped with very ordinary, very dry croutons. The Keg restaurant chain in Canada does Caesar salad right, at least they used to – it’s been a few years since I’ve eaten at one.

bacon wrapped shrimp caesar salad with parmesan crumbs

bacon wrapped shrimp caesar salad with parmesan crumbs

Over time, we’ve strayed a bit from the traditional Caesar salad and I think this is perfectly acceptable because it needed a makeover. Anchovies are more or less traditionally used, bacon isn’t. I love both and would have used anchovies in my recipe except I forgot them and didn’t feel like marching back into the store again. I don’t really enjoy those big croutons that seem to suck every bit of saliva out of your mouth so I came up with a garlicky, parmesan crumb instead. Much better.

Higher in calories than other salads I make, this Caesar salad is lovely for a special occasion (do people call them dinner parties any more?).  Or serve it as a starter next time you’re entertaining. And on the subject of clorific excess, this makes an amazing accompaniment to a juicy, grilled bone-in rib steak.

bacon wrapped shrimp caesar salad with parmesan crumbs

CAESAR DRESSING

  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 anchovy fillets, optional (if you love them and have them handy)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove
  • pinch of freshly ground pepper

PARMESAN CRUMBS

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs*
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

SALAD

  • 2 baby romaine (cos) lettuce, trimmed
  • 8 slices bacon, halved crossways
  • 16 large or jumbo raw shrimp, peeled and deveined leaving tails intact
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese shavings
  1.  To make the caesar dressing, in small food processor, process all dressing ingredients until smooth; set aside in the fridge. If you’re not using anchovies then add a pinch of salt.  I use this handy little appliance a lot for making dressings now. I love it. http://order.tupperware.com/coe/app/tup_show_item.show_item_detail?fv_item_category_code=2000&fv_item_number=P10112893000
  2.  To make the parmesan crumbs, heat oil a medium frying pan over medium-high heat; add breadcrumbs. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until crumbs are starting to turn golden-brown. Add garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes or until crumbs are golden and crunchy. Add cheese, stir until well combined & hot. Remove from heat; set aside.
  3.  To make the salad, separate lettuce leaves and place in a large bowl of cold water. Let stand in fridge until ready to use.
  4.  Wrap a piece of bacon around each shrimp. Thread onto skewers – this makes them easier to turn. Grill shrimp 3 to 4 minutes each side or until shrimp and bacon are cooked. Or place under a broiler (griller) about 5 inches from heat source and cook until browned and cook. Remember not to overcook the shrimp.
  5.  Drain and dry lettuce leaves –  I like to use a salad spinner to dry the leaves thoroughly.
  6.  Arrange lettuce leaves, bacon-wrapped shrimp and green onions on two to 4  serving plates. Drizzle with dressing. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and parmesan crumbs. Serves 2 to 4.

* I used some leftover ciabatta bread, tor it into chunks and whizzed it in the food processor until the crumbs were coarse.

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