This all started, with, well the Ides of March…
Now I know what you’re thinking…
But… as I mentioned in my March newsletter, there’s no need to “beware the ides of March”—for good reason.
Though Julius Caesar’s assassination has long cast a shadow of superstition over the Ides of March, for me, the Ides have always felt like a time for new beginnings. Imagine my surprise when I did a little research and found out that March was actually the FIRST month of the year in the oldest Roman calendar!   Ancient Romans celebrated the New Year from the beginning of March through the Ides (March 15th) with festivals, food, drink, and revelry.  Sounds good to me.
In the spirit of re-invention, I’ve decided to celebrate by curating a meal I think Caesar himself would have enjoyed if he were an Italian-American today!
On the menu:
“Hail Caesar” Salad with Crispy Polenta Croutons.
Remember those fabulous croutons I have been dying to make since my visit to White Dog? Here they are!  I’ve amped up the Italian flavor by adding parmesan cheese.  Gluten-free and dedicated to my dear Aunt Ruth with Celiac.
A word on the dressing: a lot of people are afraid to use raw eggs in cooking, but as long as the eggs are pasteurized it’s safe AND delicious! I’m featuring Davidson’s Pasteurized Eggs here for a truly traditional Caesar dressing!

Chef Jacquie’s “Hail Caesar” Salad with Crispy Polenta Croutons


1 large garlic cloveunnamed 2 egg yolks (Davidson’s Pasteurized Eggs)
1 lemon, juiced
4-6 drops of Worcestershire sauce
3 anchovy paste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

½ cup olive oil

¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 heads romaine lettuce, whole leaves, washed and dried

In a Cuisinart add garlic, egg yolks, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, anchovy paste and Dijon Mustard, salt, pepper and cheese.   Add oil in tube and puree ingredients until all oil is incorporated into dressing. Set dressing aside

Crispy Polenta Croutons

Olive oil, for greasing the pan and frying
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup instant polenta
1 tablespoon salted butter
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Make 1 cup of instant polenta according to directions on package. At the end, add salt, butter and cheese; stir until well blended. Grease a cookie sheet with olive oil, pour polenta on sheet and then spread out evenly. Place in the refrigerator until set.

When set, remove from refrigerator and cut into 1” cubes, use a flat spatula to remove from cookie sheet. In a large frying pan, add olive oil and cubed polenta, don’t crowd the pan. Cook polenta on each side until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.

To assemble salad: On a chilled salad plate arrange whole Romaine lettuce leaves, add croutons and drizzle with Caesar dressing.

Serves: 4

Serve up this new twist on a Caesar salad with some of my other classic Roman recipes for a feast fit for an emperor! Buon Appetito!

Bruschetta              Artichokes alla Giudecca              Chicken Saltimbocca alla Romana