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A Caesar for All Seasons

A Caesar for All Seasons

Consumers love Caesar salads. We all run them on our menus. Make yours stand out.

Caesar salads firmly hold the title of perennial favorite. And most operators agree that they are a must-have on the menu. But how do you make yours memorable? The chefs at the Kraft Culinary Centre have tackled that question, offering quick ideas on how to make your house Caesar into a seasonal star—with just a few tweaks. Those tweaks are presented in an easy-to-execute seasonal ingredient add-ins chart. And for those hankering for adventure within the loose confines of a Caesar salad? Well, they worked up a few fantastic signature Caesar recipes, too.

Seasonal Ideas for Caesar Salad

Start with your house Caesar salad. Then use this chart of seasonal ingredients to make the common Caesar a delicious menu standout.

SPRING PROTEIN VEGGIE/FRUIT CRUNCH
1 hard-boiled egg oven-roasted grape tomatoes pancetta crisps
2 smoked salmon asparagus tips bagel chips
3 feta zucchini ribbons radish pita chips
4 seared duck breast ramps fried shallots
5 soft shell crab fiddleheads fried leeks
SUMMER PROTEIN VEGGIE/FRUIT CRUNCH
1 grilled shrimp grilled summer squash
grilled eggplant
toasted pine nuts
2 BBQ chicken avocado
charred corn
tri-colour tortilla strips
3 grilled flat iron grilled red onion
blistered beefsteak tomatoes
blue cheese croutons
4 crab cake arugula
watercress
jicama
5 grilled salmon baby zucchini
heirloom tomatoes
frizzled dill
FALL PROTEIN VEGGIE/FRUIT CRUNCH
1 roasted turkey roasted butternut squash toasted pumpkin seeds
2 maple bacon kale hickory-smoked almonds
3 roasted chicken dried cranberries
Brussels sprouts leaves
parsnip crisps
4 falafel pickled purple cabbage grapes
5 lentils avocado toasted quinoa
WINTER PROTEIN VEGGIE/FRUIT CRUNCH
1 grilled chicken fennel pomegranate seeds
2 steak roasted portobellos onion rings
3 turkey burger baby spinach french fried onions
4 seared tuna baby bok choy sesame seeds
5 cannellini beans candy cane beets candied pecans
Caesar Salad: the Next Generation

"We took the elements of the Caesar salad—tangy, cheesy, creamy, fishy, eggy, crunchy—and played with them for each seasonal recipe build."

Aliza Katz, corporate executive chef, Kraft Foodservice

Spring Caesar Salad with Crispy Eggplant Croutons

Spring Caesar Salad with Crispy Eggplant Croutons

This spring Caesar surprises with roasted preserved lemons, sardines and breaded eggplant croutons. Grilled asparagus and shaved fennel turn it toward spring. Kraft Creamy Caesar Dressing adds its homemade-like notes of Parmesan, cracked black pepper and garlic.

Shrimp Caesar Salad with Pickled Watermelon & Cornbread Croutons

Shrimp Caesar Salad with Pickled Watermelon & Cornbread Croutons

This salad is a tribute to summer with its grilled corn, fresh mint, cherry tomatoes, grilled shrimp, pickled watermelon and cornbread croutons. Chef Katz marinates the sweet shrimp in Grey Poupon Country Dijon Mustard and extra-virgin olive oil. She relies on Kraft Creamy Caesar Dressing for its great flavor and velvety texture.

Kale Caesar!

Kale Caesar!

Kale is so hot right now, and here, Chef Katz roasts it to give it an unexpected crunch. She also pickles Granny Smith apples, infusing them with sugar, lemon and salt. A poached egg and white anchovies keep it in the Caesar salad universe, but add surprise and delight. She sweetens Oscar Mayer Bacon with maple syrup to finish the salad. "Press the bacon under a pan, then put it in the oven until it looks like stained glass," says Chef Katz.

Brussels Sprouts Caesar with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Brussels Sprouts Caesar with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Get ready to wow your customers with this winter Caesar salad. Chef Katz deep-fries the tender leaves of Brussels sprouts, pickles purple cabbage and tempuras anchovies, leaving them with a more laid-back flavor. The warm dressing is made with Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard, anchovy paste, shallots, Champagne vinegar and brown sugar.

Quick-Pickling Technique

Pickling normally takes days. But with a vacuum sealer, it can be done in as little as 15 minutes to just an hour or two.

Ryan Baxter, C.E.C.

Technique:

Step 1

Prepare a pickling brine (I like to mix apple cider vinegar with sugar, red pepper flakes and a pinch of whole yellow mustard seeds).

Step 2

Cut the fruit or vegetables thinly or into bite-sized pieces.

Step 3

Place them into a vacuum seal bag in a single layer. Pour the brine over them; seal the bag under pressure in the vacuum sealer on a high setting.

You will notice a marked change in the items being pickled. Fruits and vegetables will instantly get more translucent as the gasses are pushed out of them. During this process (and over the next few hours) the brine will deeply and quickly infuse into the product. Brining time will vary based on the size of the cuts (smaller=less time) and the desired intensity.

Seasonal Caesar Salads