Last week, Chef Nancy and I were testing a recipe for a lighter Caesar salad dressing. The original recipe called for one anchovy fillet. We ended up using the whole can of anchovies in the recipe, in order to achieve a flavor we both agreed on. As we were cooking, we started discussing people’s passionate feelings regarding anchovies. For the most part, people either love them or hate them. Rarely do you find someone who says, “I kind of like anchovies”. As it turns out, Nancy and I both fall into the category of people who love anchovies. For those of us who are fans of anchovies, our love of this tiny fish, supplies not only a wonderful flavor profile, but it is filled with nutritional benefits as well. Anchovies are packed with protein, calcium and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.

I don’t anticipate immediately changing any one’s negative opinion about anchovies, but do hope that those who dislike them, might consider the health benefits and give them another shot. My recipe this week is for the anchovy lover, and is inspired by the Caesar salad we made last week. Instead of pureeing the anchovies in a dressing, this recipe puts the anchovies front and center.

Caesar Salad Bruschetta:
1/2 Cup Light Olive Oil Mayonnaise
1 Cup of Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
3 Tsp of Lemon Zest
1 Tsp Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
12 Slices of Baguette, cut on the bias
1 Large Garlic Clove, Sliced in half lengthwise
24 Anchovy Fillets
1 Cup of finely shredded Romaine Hearts
Lemon Wedges for Garnish

Combine Mayo, 3/4 Cup of Parmesan, Lemon Zest and Black Pepper in a bowl. Set aside. Meanwhile, coat both sides of baguette with non-stick cooking spray and toast in a 350 degree oven for 6-8 minutes, until nice a toasty, but not too brown. Rub both sides of the warm toasted bread with the flat side of the garlic cloves. Next, spread a thin layer of the mayo-cheese mixture on each slice of toast. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top of the may mixture. Place the bread slices under the broiler for about 2-3 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the edges of the bread start to brown. Once out of the broiler, place about a tablespoon of romaine in the center of each bread slice and top with two anchovy fillets in a crisscross pattern.

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