I am a true-blue cooking show fanatic, but of course, I have my very most favorites; my TV chef heros if you will. One of them, and quite possibly the nearest and dearest to my heart is none other than the good ol’ Barefoot Contessa. She’s just so stink’n classy, her table settings are flawless and pretty much everything she makes is right up my alley. Her food is beautiful, it’s refined and more times than not, it’s comfort food all dolled up. Now that’s my kind of cooking. When I grow up, I want to be just like Ina.
Years ago, she put out a recipe that was almost identical to one of my all-time favorite restaurant sandwiches. It was a chicken Caesar sandwich that she had dressed up with big shards of Parmesan cheese and crispy prosciutto. Almost immediately after the episode ended, you can bet your bottom dollar I was in the kitchen whipping up her homemade Caesar dressing and putting it to work on some shredded chicken and a toasty ciabatta bun — it was heavenly.
Over the years, I’ve refined the Caesar dressing a tidbit, so that it is a little less work, yet just as (dare I say, even more) tasty. Bonus. The family and I have been well acquainted with the chicken version for years, so the last time I whipped these bad boys up, I substituted roasted shrimp and man, was that a welcomed change. Regardless of which protein suits you best, this is a recipe worth getting under your belt. It’s quick it’s easy and I have no doubt it will become one of your new dinnertime favorites. Please, enjoy.
Busy Mom Side Note:
Hey moms, I totally get it if you feel like you just can’t spare the time to pull out all the stops, and whip up a Caesar dressing tonight. Grab yourself a bottle the next time you’re at the store and make this meal an even quicker fix than it already is.
- 1 1/2 lb Jumbo 16/20 Wild-Caught Shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/3 cup + 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil separated
- 1 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt separated
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper separated
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper plus extra for finishing salad
- 2 cups Romaine lettuce chopped, washed and dried
- 4 Ciabatta buns halved
- 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese if desired*
For the shrimp, preheat the oven to 400° and have ready a large rimmed baking sheet (possibly two), lined with nonstick aluminum foil.
Place shrimp on the baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Toss until evenly coated with oil and seasoning. Spread apart so that there is at least a small amount of space between each shrimp. If not, transfer half of the shrimp to the second baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until the shrimp is pink in color and slightly firm to the touch. Set aside until ready to use. Leave the oven on.
For the Caesar dressing, in a blender or food processor, combine mayonnaise, Parmesan, lemon juice, dijon, anchovy paste, a 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Process until smooth. With the motor running, remove the feed tube and slowly drizzle in a 1/3 cup of olive oil. Set aside until ready to use.
Have ready a sheet pan. Drizzle the cut side of the Ciabatta buns with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or just until toasted. Set aside to cool slightly.
Place Romaine lettuce in a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of dressing and toss to combine. Smear the bottom bun with desired amount of Caesar dressing. Divide shrimp amongst the buns, and top with the dressed lettuce. Sprinkle with shaved Parmesan and add the top bun. Serve and enjoy.
*To shave Parmesan, run a vegetable peeler firmly along the wedge of cheese and allow the wedges to fall on your work surface.
Would pair well with: