Loosely inspired by the classic Caesar salad, this recipe features a bread-thickened dressing evocative of romesco, a nutty, garlicky, olive oil-rich red sauce from the Catalonia region of Spain. Romaine hearts, chopped smoked almonds and croutons made from toasted bread give the dish lots of texture, while manchego cheese brings saltiness and umami. Serve as a side or a light main. To make this salad more substantial, add shredded cooked chicken or top each portion with a soft-cooked egg.


When buying the baguette, look for bread with a hearty, rustic crumb; avoid loaves with a fluffy, cottony crumb. A denser crumb is best, not only for lending body to the dressing but also for yielding croutons that add crunch to the salad.


The dressing can be refrigerated for three days, so it is easily made ahead. Or consider making a double batch and saving some for later. Its bold, smoky flavors make it a delicious pairing for steak, shrimp or grilled or roasted vegetables.

For Creamier Salad Dressings, Keep Your Crusts

Salad i44 Crusts

Stale bread is an excellent thickener for sauces and dressings. And bread with crusts makes a better thickener because as crusts brown during baking, the starches break down into sugars called dextrins, which are fantastic emulsifiers. For an all-purpose creamy vinaigrette, blend ½ cup oil, ¼ cup vinegar and ¼ cup toasted bread, seasoning to taste.