- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 anchovy fillets
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup mild olive oil
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 romaine hearts, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 slices of bacon, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 3/4 pound lean ground sirloin
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- In a blender, puree 2 of the garlic cloves with the anchovy fillets, lemon juice, mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce. With the blender on, add 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a thin stream and process until incorporated. Add 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, season with salt and pepper and blend. Pour 2 tablespoons of the Caesar dressing into a medium bowl. Transfer the remaining dressing to a large bowl and add the lettuce, tomatoes and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan; don't toss.
- In a food processor, pulse the remaining garlic clove with the bacon until chopped. Add the bread crumbs, milk, egg, basil, thyme, hot sauce and the remaining 3 tablespoons of Parmesan; season generously with salt and pepper and process to a paste. Transfer to a bowl and knead in the sirloin. Working with 2 tablespoons of the meat at a time, roll it into 18 balls. Dust the meatballs with the flour.
- In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 cup of oil until shimmering. Add the meatballs and cook over moderately high heat until golden and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Drain well on paper towels. Add the meatballs to the dressing in the medium bowl and toss gently. Toss the salad and transfer to plates. Top with the meatballs and serve.
Spicy, plummy Merlot.