I also don't necessarily make these salads in the classic 'purist' form. I do draw the line at adding in too many variations but from time to time I will muck around with it, like tonights Caesar was of the chicken variety! My dressing is the main thing that varies, depending on what I have around. I will happily substitute mustards (I adore whole grain, so that's what ends up getting used!) and throw in some fresh herbs if I have them. It keeps things interesting!
So the following 'recipes' are as usual a guide.
To me a Caesar has to have croutons, lettuce (pref Cos but not necessarily!), bacon, parmesan, and egg, be it soft boiled or poached. Then its about adding in things like chicken or prawns which I think both work well. I am not that strict on ratios or quantities, I think just tailor it to how many mouths you are feeding!
As for the dressing, I do always make sure there are anchovies in it because I can't bear them whole in the salad! But they totally make the dressing and I wouldn't bother making a Caesar without them! The dressing again depends on how big a salad you are making, but I made this one which is enough to dress a salad for 4:
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 c lemon juice
1/2 c olive oil
1 tbsp dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground pepper
Whiz all ingredients up in blender/processor to get a thick dressing.
Assemble the lettuce etc, dress then top with poached or boiled egg.
My son has been obliviously eating my version with the anchovies in the dressing and loving it, he actually caught me putting them in the dressing last night and pronounced he would no longer be eating my Caesar salads! I did however convince him to try it again and he conceded that actually it wasn't bad at all! So it remains on the menu!
For the Nicoise the key ingredients are:
Tuna (fresh or tinned for the poor people!)
cooked new potatoes in bite size pieces
cooked fresh green beans
Nicoise olives (or plain old pitted black ones like I use!!!)
Boiled eggs, quartered
Red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
Capers or anchovies optional (again I put the anchovies in the dressing as it gives it great flavour!)
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/4c extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp mustard
fresh parsley or basil
Whiz together in food processor or blender.