Smoked-Herring Caesar Salad

Why not add smoked herring, the bacon of the sea?

3 tablespoons smoked herring, finely chopped
A scant 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/3 cup Parmesan, grated (and more for finishing)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 egg yolk, or 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

CROUTONS (Or, just use prepared croutons):
2 cups brioche, cut into 1-inch cubes, approximately 3 thick slices
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt

2 heads romaine lettuce, roughly cut, well rinsed and dried.

1. If making croutons, preheat oven to 350. In a medium-size bowl, toss brioche with melted butter, thyme and salt and pepper. Arrange bread pieces on a baking sheet and place in oven until they begin to turn golden, approximately 10 minutes, then remove and set aside.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine smoked herring with just enough red-wine vinegar to cover it barely; heat until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat immediately, scrape into a small bowl and allow to cool.
3. In a food processor, combine the herring and vinegar, the garlic, cheese, mustard, egg yolk, Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Slowly drizzle olive oil into the mixture as the processor works, emulsifying the dressing. (You may not need all the oil.) When the dressing has achieved the consistency of a loose mayonnaise, remove it from the food processor, and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, toss the lettuce and the croutons with enough dressing to cover the romaine as a sauce would pasta. Place in serving bowl and grate so much Parmesan over the top that the salad looks like a heavily snowcapped mountain. Serves 4 to 6. Adapted from Hugue Dufour, M. Wells, Queens.

Smoked Herring Salad


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