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6 of the best

6 of the best… twists on the classic Caesar salad

Et tu, crouton?

TANGY, SALTY AND crisp, the classic Caesar salad is loved by many of us, and hugely popular on restaurant menus throughout Ireland and the world.

The famous salad is commonly said to have originated with Italian chef and restaurateur Caesar Cardini, who owned restaurants throughout Mexico and North America. Legend has it that the salad came into existence when chef Caesar was short on produce after a Fourth of July rush, meaning he had to make do with whatever supplies he had.

The type of lettuce usually used in a traditional Caesar salads is romaine, though many recipes now use cos. When it comes to how the lettuce is served, many chefs take passionate views towards this! In its original format, the Caesar salad was designed to be eaten as a finger food, using whole lettuce leaves, which is why most Caesar salads are served with rustic, whole leaves.

Traditionally made using romaine lettuce, lemon juice, garlic oil, anchovies, worcestershire sauce, parmesan cheese and black pepper, there are now many variations on the classic. Here’s some of our favourites.

1. Ultimate Roast Chicken Caesar, from Jamie Oliver: If you want a showstopper Caesar salad, this is the recipe you need! Roast chicken is brought to a new level by brining it overnight to enhance its flavour and texture. For added indulgence, the croutons are roasted in the chicken juice. Delicious!

2. The Paleo Caesar, from The Wonky Spatula: For an extra fibre kick, this recipe adds a handful of seeds. While delicious on its own, why not top with a roast salmon fillet for an extra filling meal that’s paleo too.

Shutterstock / viennetta Shutterstock / viennetta / viennetta

3. Vegan Caesar Salad with Tofu Croutons, from the Fit Kitchen: This vegan Caesar salad is topped with tofu ‘croutons’ that have been marinaded in herbs and fried until crisp. The dressing is creamy but dairy free, using ingredients like cashews and nutritional yeast to create the effect of a traditional dressing.

4. Maple Pork with Garden Pea Caesar, from Donal Skehan: We love the sound of this flavour combination – sweet maple pork with a salty tang from the Caesar dressing. A great dinner party recipe to have on hand for any end of summer get togethers!

5. Grilled Caesar, from the Little Kitchen: Okay, we know this may be a bit of a stretch from the classic Caesar, but trust us, if you haven’t yet tried cooked lettuce, now is the time! This would be delicious served as a side to a weeknight meal.

6. Healthy Salmon Caesar, from Salt and Lavender: The ingredients used in this recipe make it a lighter take on the classic Caesar salad. As we’ve still (hopefully!) plenty of sunny days left ahead of us this summer, why not add this to your next BBQ menu?

More: 6 of the best… toasted cheese sandwich recipes>

More: 6 of the best… baked potato fillings>

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