II have to admit that calling this a Caesar salad is a bit of an exaggeration, quotes or not, because it doesn’t have the anchovies, egg, and parmesan that go with that infamous dressing. That said, I guarantee it’s not far off the mark both deliciously and flavor-wise (believe it). The sweet, tangy sesame-crusted croutons are a bit of a revelation, which is why it’s handy that the recipe yields more than you need. The dressing is thick and creamy enough to double as an aïoli for sandwiches or fries. In this case, be creative with how you season it: for example, add saffron, lime zest, paprika, or any number of spices.
Miso Caesar Salad with Sesame Maple Croutons
Toss the salad with the dressing so the leaves are all coated if you like, but I prefer to have it underneath so it’s less lumpy and also means every bite is a little different. To bulk things up, add some marinated tofu to the mix — toss it with, say, crushed garlic, soy, maple syrup, maybe a little chilli and some sunflower oil, and let it steep for an hour.
preparation 15 minutes
a cook 25 mins
For the dressing
150 g unsweetened coconut yoghurt – I use this from the Coconut Collaborative
1 tbsp (20 g) white miso paste
1½ tbsp olive oil
1 small clove of garlicpeeled and finely grated or crushed
½ tsp lemon zest
½ tsp toasted sesame oil
Black pepper – Approx. 15 revolutions of the grinder
⅛ tsp fine salt
For the croutons
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp white sesame seeds
1¼ tablespoons maple syrup
1 clove of garlicpeeled and finely grated or crushed
1¼ tsp Pul Biber or Aleppo Chili Flakes (if you prefer milder heat, start with less and work your way up)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
½ tsp fine salt
¼ tsp chipotle chili flakes (for extra warmth; optional)
Black pepper – approx. 15 revolutions on the grinder
200 grams of sourdoughCrumble and cut into 1½ cm cubes
For the salad
½ cucumberHalved lengthways and seeds hollowed out
120 g small gem salad (1-2 heads), base trimmed and leaves separated
5 g basil leaves
5g chivescut into 3 cm pieces
1 tbsp olive oilplus extra to serve
1 tbsp lemon juiceplus extra to serve
¼ tsp fine salt
Heat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan)/390°F/Gas 6. Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients in a large bowl until the miso is fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth, and set aside.
Place all crouton ingredients except the bread in a large bowl, mix well, then add the bread and stir to coat. Spread out on a large, shallow oven tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 14-16 minutes, turning the croutons in half, until crispy and golden brown all over, then remove and set aside.
Slice the hollowed-out cucumber halves at an angle, place in a bowl with the lettuce leaves, basil, chives, olive oil, lemon juice and fine salt and toss.
Spoon and spread the thick dressing onto a plate with lips. Spread the lettuce on top, making sure that the dressing underneath shows in some places and around the edges. Squeeze some more lemon juice on top, drizzle with oil, then top with some of the crouton and sesame seed mixture and serve with the rest.