What a refreshing thing a salad is!  It becomes even tastier when you can add a few simple ingredients that taste good (are good for you) and easy to do. This is called a Bloody good Caesar because of the addition of blood orange segments (I know, they look orange – sadly I cannot make segments in the store so rely on my local grocer for accuracy) to the salad. I did my usual twists with extra large croutons lightly toasted and painted with olive oil. These were slathered in roasted garlic and added to the plate. I also added strawberries bathed in some thick syrupy balsamic vinegar – reduced from almost a full bottle to a few tablespoons, for balance. Roasted prosciutto slices – put in for a few minutes while the garlic was roasting added some height not to mention incredible taste.  Prosciutto (just about any sliced deli meat) crisps up beautifully and is addictively good (try hot salami done this way with the salad). I left some large pieces for garnish and crumbled a few slices onto the salad just before serving.  (By the way, if you have never tried a Caesar salad with regular Tabasco sauce on it – try it!  It is incredible – you heard it here first!)

The dressing is also light in that there is no egg (mayonnaise) base to it. Some may argue it’s not a true Caesar dressing without those ingredients, but close enough to please the palate. Recipes follow below. This can be a meal on its own as it doesn’t really need anything else to accompany it. If you want to serve it as a meal, add some blackened salmon, chicken or thinly sliced steak. I served an appetizer portion before serving rack of lamb with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus as the main.

1 large head romaine lettuce, cut into bite sized pieces, washed and spun dry (if you don’t have a salad spinner, please go out and buy one.  It’s one of those essential tools I speak of when I talk of equipment in my pantry)
3 Blood oranges – segmented
8 – 10 strawberries

3/4 cup Greek yogurt
4 – 6 cloves roasted garlic, mashed (you can use regular garlic as well, just grate it first)
5 anchovies, chopped fine (this is what gives a caesar salad that distinctive taste, sadly some don’t add it to the dressing – I know, can you believe it!)
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 lemon, zest and juice (remember whenever you are going to eat an orange or use a lemon or lime in cooking, always zest it first and save the zest in your freezer. Use it to flavor your next baked good i.e. cake, muffin, cookies. You can also use it to flavor sugar or to sprinkle on top of fresh berries.)
1/2 to 3/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Using a whisk, whip the yogurt to loosen it up
Add the roasted garlic, Dijon, anchovies, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, parmigiano, salt and pepper
Whisk the ingredients together – taste, season and taste again
Add more lemon juice or olive oil if needed
This is a thick dressing so don’t thin it down and, a little on the lettuce – mixed well, goes a long way. So don’t put too much on the salad or it will wilt and lose it’s crispness.

Roasted Garlic Croutons
1 baguette – thinly sliced 1/8″ thick,
2 heads of garlic, cut the top 1/4″ of

Put a little olive oil on the garlic, add salt and pepper
Wrap the garlic in tin foil and bake at 400F for 40 – 45 minutes
Paint the baguette slices with olive oil, put them in the oven for the last 5 minutes that the roasted garlic is cooking – watch them closely as you don’t want them to burn and they will butn fast at 400F
Remove the garlic from the oven, pour the contents into a bowl, mash and spread it on the toasts (this can be done ahead of time)

Put as much lettuce as you need in a large bowl, add the dressing and mix well
Put the dressed salad in a bowl, garnish with the blood orange segments and sliced strawberries. Using a teaspoon, pour the nalsamic vinegar over the strawberries, add the roasted garlic croutons, a large piece(s) of crisp baked prosciutto and some crumbled pieces on top of the salad – serve immediately.
As always – enjoy!