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Spicy Caesar Salad

  • TOTAL TIME: 20 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 6
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"Sometimes when I make Caesar salad, I put too much garlic in, even for me," says photographer Rob Howard, who loves powerful versions of this classic recipe. F&W's Marcia Kiesel created an exemplary Caesar salad for him with a simple but potent mayonnaise-based dressing, extra-large croutons and thin strips of red chile for a spicy kick. Because Rob also likes crispy bacon in his Caesar salads (he gets slabs delivered from a local butcher, whose smokehouse is a few miles away from Rob's home), it gets tossed in, too.

  1. 1/2 baguette, sliced 1/3 inch thick
  2. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  3. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  4. 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets, preferably spicy—drained and chopped
  5. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  6. 2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  7. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  8. Freshly ground pepper
  9. 6 slices lean bacon (3 ounces)
  10. 1 1/2 pounds romaine lettuce, torn into large bite-size pieces
  11. 1 long red chile, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
  12. 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Spread the baguette slices on a baking sheet and lightly brush both sides with olive oil. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the toasts cool, then break them into large pieces.
  2. Meanwhile, in a mini food processor, combine the mayonnaise, anchovies, lemon juice, garlic and mustard and blend until smooth. With the processor on, slowly pour in the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Season the dressing with pepper.
  3. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Drain and slice crosswise 1 inch thick.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the romaine with the sliced chile, croutons and the bacon. Add the dressing and toss. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the salad, toss again and serve right away.
Make Ahead The dressing can be refrigerated overnight.