PizzaVino's Caesar salad with crunchy croutons

PizzaVino's Caesar salad with crunchy croutons (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times / July 25, 2013)

Dear SOS: I'm hoping the chef at PizzaVino, a lovely little restaurant on the plaza in Sebastopol, Calif., will share his secret for the most delicious crunchy croutons I've ever tasted. It seems as if many of us "Hail, Caesar"!

Carol Bloom

Woodland Hills

Dear Carol: The secret to PizzaVino's croutons is focaccia, which makes the croutons extra light and crisp when toasted. Tossed with tender lettuce in a tangy Caesar dressing, this salad makes a refreshing side dish or light meal.

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PizzaVino's Caesar salad with crunchy croutons

Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Servings: 4 to 6

Note: Adapted from PizzaVino in Sebastopol, Calif.

VIDEO: Watch Times Test Kitchen manager Noelle Carter make this dish in the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

Crunchy croutons

5 cups fresh focaccia bread, cubed

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the cubed focaccia with the olive oil until evenly coated, then toss with the salt. Spread the bread on a large, rimmed baking sheet and toast until golden and crunchy, 15 to 20 minutes.

Caesar salad dressing

2 cloves garlic

3 anchovies, or to taste

Zest and juice of ½ lemon, divided