When my husband and I started dating, I actually asked him out first. I know, very forward for a girl from the southern region of the United States. Southern girls are raised to be very demure, waiting on bated breath for our knight on a white horse to “save” us….
While this may be the romantic story book scenario that teenage girls dream of, I say, Pfff…. I mean, honestly.
Both my husband and I were in our mid to late twenties when we met, we were both working and had started the process of building our own lives. Any fairytale nonsense that may have existed within me was long gone, replaced by a real woman, surviving and thriving on her own.
I knew after a couple of weeks of talking with my husband during breaks at work, that I was definitely interested. Going home for a couple of days thinking about it, I came to the realization that I was just too grown to be sitting around pining away over a crush. For better or worse, I was going to leap out of the child inside of me into this incredibly liberated woman and ask him out. Ha!
I would love to tell you that I suavely walked in the break room and nonchalantly asked him out, but in that moment I became a mere flawed human, self doubt started to wash over me. Instead, I bumbled through an awkward invite to join a group of friends for trivia night at a local bar, in order to gauge his interest. Thankfully, he showed up and after a night of the two of us giggling too much to help out our trivia team, my husband asked me to dinner (by ourselves.)
Having that anticipatory nervousness that you get when you are on a one on one date with someone that you really like, I ordered a salad to nibble on. Over a plate of Caesar salad, I fell in love with my husband.
I know, it sounds incredibly trite and smacks of cliched pedestrian-ism that makes me squirm when I read that last sentence back. Sure, it would be a sexier story, if I told you that my husband and I were an unrequited love. Fevered with the passion of an estranged searching love; just two rambling hearts magnetized to one another and… one day… we see each other again. The lighting is perfect. It is raining outside. The forlorn look of two people spellbound…
Wait, that’s right, that’s the movies. That’s what I love about us, that what we felt that night was real. Today, I am recreating part of the romantic dinner that was just the beginning!
- 3 young, firm heads Romaine lettuce, or one 18-ounce package hearts of romaine
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano for shaving
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, plus more for dressing the salad
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, or as needed
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 hard boiled egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Freshly ground pepper
The dressing shouldn’t be too dense; it should be just thick enough to coat each leaf lightly. The cheese that is added at the end will thicken it a little. Combine 2 tablespoons vinegar, the lemon juice, and garlic in a blender or work bowl of a food processor. Blend until smooth, adding some of the 1/3 cup olive oil if there isn’t enough liquid to move the mixture around the blender jar. Add the mustard, hard-boiled egg yolk, salt, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and remaining olive oil if any. Blend until is smooth and creamy. Taste the dressing: If it’s a little too tangy, pour in a splash or two of olive oil and blend until it’s incorporated. Stack the leaves in a bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until all the leaves are coated with dressing. Toss in the croutons and ground black pepper to taste. Lastly, so it doesn’t clump, sprinkle the grated cheese over the salad, tossing as you add. Serve on chilled plates and shave some of the block of Parmigiano-Reggiano over each serving.