Narcisse Restaurant
701 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60610

Caesar Salad with Herbed Polenta Croutons
Chef Brian Jupiter of Narcisse Restaurant – Chicago, IL
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: 4 Servings

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 6 anchovy fillets
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 Tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar (preferably balsamic)
  • 5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauceTabasco to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons warm water, if needed
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups olive oil

    1 – 2 bags of pre-washed baby romaine lettuce
    Grated Parmesan, for garnish

    Herbed polenta croutons:
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon blue cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • ½ Tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • ½ cup scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups Japanese bread crumbs (Panko)
  • Peanut oil, for frying
For dressing:
Combine all ingredients except for the olive oil in a blender or food processor. Blend ingredients until smooth. Add olive oil in a slow, steady stream to prevent dressing from breaking. The dressing is ready when it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Adjust seasoning to taste and reserve.

For herbed polenta croutons:
In a medium saucepot, add the butter and garlic and sauté for one minute, making sure not to burn the garlic. Add the water, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Add polenta slowly, whisking simultaneously to prevent lumps. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring continuously, for about 20 minutes. Stir in blue cheese, Parmesan, scallions, and herbs and cook another 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Pour polenta in a sheet pan and spread to a 1-inch thickness. Refrigerate and allow polenta to set. Remove from refrigerator and cut into 2x2-inch squares.

Preheat peanut oil to 350°F. Combine the flour and breadcrumbs. Dip polenta squares in egg wash, completely wetting all sides. Then, dip moistened polenta in the bread crumb/flour mixture, completely and evenly covering all sides. Fry in hot peanut oil until golden brown.

To assemble:
Toss lettuce with enough dressing to lightly coat the leaves. Divide between 4 chilled salad plates. Garnish with hot polenta croutons and Parmesan cheese.

Wine pairing:
A medium-bodied California Chardonnay such as the Ancien Chardonnay Carneros 2001

Published: October 2004