Winter Caesar Salad

What happens when potato salad meets Caesar salad?  Answer: a delight to the senses!  This is one of those recipes where the sauce is the crowing glory of the salad.  It brings all the ingredients together and makes a statement – hey look at us! Making your own dressing is so easy there’s no reason in the world to buy bottled ones.  I haven’t purchased the bottled kind in years!  The easiest of all dressings is olive oil and balsamic vinegar (a simple vinaigrette) and I’m sure most of you have these two items in your pantry.  According to Charmian of Christie’s Corner, homemade dressings all have these elements: oil, acid (red and white wine vinegar, lemon or lime juice), sweet (sugar, honey, jam, orange juice, apple juice), salt, aromatics (fresh herbs, garlic, ground pepper).  Mustard, when added to oil and vinegar emulsifies the dressing and it is from here you can experiment with different sweeteners and aromatics.  Visit All Recipes to view vinaigrette and creamy salad dressings and have fun concocting your own versions!

Serves 4
adapted from Fabulous Food magazine

340g potatoes (small potatoes or fingerling potatoes work well)
200g bacon lardons
2 small heads of Belgium endive
2 small heads of radicchio
1 bunch of watercress
1 avocado, sliced
80 – 100g Parmesan cheese, shaved using a potato peeler
a small bunch of chives, finely chopped (optional)

2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, crushed
6 anchovy fillets, chopped
juice of half a lemon
200ml olive oil
Parmesan or Gran Padano, grated
dash of Worcestershire sauce

To make the dressing, place egg yolks, lemon juice, mustard, anchovies and garlic into a food processor. With the motor running, gradually add the olive oil in a very slow stream. Blend to the consistency of double cream, then add Parmesan cheese and Worcestershire sauce (you may need to add a splash of water if it gets too thick). Taste and season with salt and pepper, don’t be afraid to add lemon juice if needed.

Simmer the potatoes in salted, boiling water until tender when pierced with a sharp knife (about 15 minutes). Drain and toss in a few tablespoons of the dressing whilst still warm. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan on medium heat, add one tablespoon olive oil, when hot add the bacon and fry until golden. remove from heat and drain on kitchen paper. Discard any bruised outer leaves from the endive and radicchio. Remove each leaf and place into a large bowl. Add watercress, season with a little salt and pepper and add a few tablespoons of the dressing and toss gently with your hands.

Arrange the leaves on a platter or on individual plates and top with the potatoes and bacon. Finally add slices of the avocado and Parmesan shavings. Drizzle over more of the dressing and sprinkle with the chives.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
Delicious, hearty flavors from this dish! If you don’t have a food processor don’t fret, you can easily make the dressing using a whisk. Make sure the garlic is chopped fine (made into a paste if you like) and the same goes for the anchovies (unless of course you like chunky bits of anchovies in your salad). Whisk the 5 dressing ingredients together and then slowly drizzle the olive oil while whisking. You’ll see the oil start to emulsify. If it gets too thick, add a bit of water to thin it out.  Don’t worry if you can’t find watercress…that’s what happened to me as Whole Foods didn’t have it.  It makes for a nice bit of bite to the salad but it won’t be the end of the world if you can’t find it. If you are not a fan of endive or radicchio, you can also use romaine lettuce.  Enjoy!


  1. Kimberley on February 22, 2012 at 04:15

    I am into this salad!

  2. The Culinary Chase on February 22, 2012 at 12:42

    Thanks Kimberley! I love the look of your beet crudo with chimichurri…I’ll be making this one very soon! Cheers!

  3. Karen on February 24, 2012 at 01:59

    This is a nice winter salad. About this time of year I start to crave the vegetables from the garden. This salad hits the spot.


  4. The Culinary Chase on February 24, 2012 at 12:42

    Thanks Karen1 Do give this one a try…you won’t be disappointed. Cheers!