Little Gem Caesar Salad with Crispy Halloumi Croutons


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I'm a total groupie for halloumi.  This salty grilling cheese can take just about anything to the next level. Not to mention, people go absolutely nuts for it, and it’s so easy to whip up. In this spin on a classic Caesar salad, I’ve swapped little nuggets of this wonderful cheese for croutons, and instead whipped up a gluten free toasted bread crumb situation to sprinkle on top. If keeping this salad gluten free isn’t a factor for you, go ahead and swap the gluten free bread crumbs for whatever bread crumbs you happen to have.

If you’re new to little gem lettuce, allow me to introduce you. It’s a springtime produce item that tastes like a cross between classic romaine and butter lettuce. It has the crunch of romaine, but grows in adorable little hearts, making it the perfect head of lettuce to gently peel apart and snack on. Check your local farmers’ market for these little bundles of joy, however if you can’t find them, you can use whatever greens you like.

As far as the Caesar dressing goes, I kept it rather classic (because if it’s not broken, then why fix it, right?). I know, I know. Anchovies are quite the polarizing food, but I strongly encourage you to give these lil’ fishies a chance. They’re salty, oily, and are exactly what this dressing needs. Don’t worry--it doesn’t impart a fishy flavor. Frankly, if you’re going to skip anything in this recipe, please just promise me that it’s not the halloumi!

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  • Recipe Card
Prep time 5mins
Cook time 5mins
Serves or Makes: 4

Recipe Card


  • 4 ounces halloumi, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Black peppercorns, freshly ground, to taste
  • 4 large anchovy fillets
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 2 large Handsome Brook Farm Pasture-Raised Organic Egg Yolks
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for serving
  • 8 ounces radishes, thinly sliced (watermelon, purple, easter, etc)
  • 4 heads little gem lettuce, washed and leaves separated


  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to high broil and position a rack in the upper third of the oven.

  • Step 2

    In a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and cook until fragrant and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

  • Step 3

    Make the dressing: Mince the anchovies and cloves together. Holding the knife at an angle mash the anchovies and garlic together until a paste forms. Add 1 teaspoon salt and mix until combined.

  • Step 4

    In a separate bowl, whisk yolks until smooth. To eggs add mustard, anchovy garlic paste, lemon juice and zest. Pouring slowly, add 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil while whisking constantly so that the mixture emulsifies. Add vegetable oil and continue to whisk while the dressing thickens. Whisk in grated Parmesan and season with black pepper.

  • Step 5

    Toss halloumi cubes with remaining 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and spread on rimmed baking sheet. Broil until cubes are golden brown and crispy, about 4 minutes, flipping half-way through.

  • Step 6

    Toss little gem leaves, halloumi, and radishes with dressing. Top with crispy breadcrumbs and shaved Parmesan. Serve immediately.