Caesar Salad With Avocado Dressing
If you can afford Parmigiano Reggiano — the especially good Parmesan cheese — it's worth it here.
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
2 heaping cups French or Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
Salt and ground black pepper
2 to 3 hearts of Romaine, cored and coarsely chopped (8 generous cups)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
Heat a 10-inch skillet over low heat. With motor running, drop garlic cloves through feeder tube of a food processor fitted with the steel blade to mince. (A blender works as well.) Scrape down sides of bowl and add olive oil through feeder tube. Continue to process so that garlic releases its flavor into the oil, about 30 seconds. Strain garlic from oil through a fine-mesh strainer; return garlic to food processor. Divide oil, tossing bread cubes with half of it; return remaining oil to food processor.
Increase skillet heat to medium. Add bread cubes to hot skillet and toast, turning the cubes and shaking the pan often, until crisp and golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer croutons to a bowl; set aside to cool.
Add avocado, lemon juice, water and a sprinkling of salt and pepper to food processor; puree to form a smooth dressing.
When ready to serve, place lettuce in a large bowl. Add dressing; toss to coat. Add cheese; toss to coat again. Add croutons and toss again. Taste and adjust seasonings. Divide salad among 4 plates, garnish with additional Parmesan, and serve.