New take on Caesar salad shows dish's versatility
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
First, make the tapenade croutons: Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C). Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, stir together the oil, Parmesan, garlic, oregano and thyme. Add the bread, and toss well to coat. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake until golden brown on all sides, turning them about halfway through, about 10 minutes total. Remove from the oven, cool to room temperature, and store in a cool, dry place until ready to use.
For the salad, trim the lettuce and tear into bite-sized pieces; or, if using smaller leaves, keep them whole. Put the lettuce in a large mixing bowl and toss well with enough Caesar vinaigrette to coat evenly.
Arrange the lettuce attractively on chilled salad plates, stacking whole leaves or mounding pieces. Sprinkle with Parmesan and black pepper to taste.
Just before serving, spread a thin layer of black-and-green tapenade on one side of each crouton. Arrange croutons on top of or around the salads. Serve immediately.
BLACK-AND-GREEN OLIVE TAPENADE
Makes 1 heaping cup (250 mL)
1 cup (250 mL) Nicoise olives, pitted
1 cup (250 mL) small green French olives (Picholines), pitted