Jacques Pepin’s Blue Cheese Salad: A Scrumptious and Easy Meal

This salad is a scrumptious, rich yet light, flavor-packed dish that will disappear as soon as you put it on the table. It’s bursting with flavor and can easily be served as a side or the main course when loaded up with extra toppings.

Serves: 2   Time: 15 minutes   Cookbook: Essential Pepin

This is the salad that Jacques Pepin recommends if you’re looking to whip up a quick week-night salad for two. However, the ingredients can easily be multiplied to serve a crowd, as well. Jacques originally called this recipe a faux Caesar salad since he took a classic Caesar and used blue cheese instead of parmesan and omitted the raw egg in the dressing. No matter what you call it, if it’s made by Jacques it’s going to be great! I also happen to love any excuse to eat blue cheese.

Jump Ahead:

In this recipe, you will discover a genius way to use leftover bread. You’ll also learn how to use umami-boosting anchovy, and find out that rich, savory blue cheese is perfect for any salad.

Pro tip: I highly recommend pairing this scrumptious salad with Mark Bittman’s Broiled Salmon Burgers.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Jacques Pepin is the master at creating simple, flavor-packed dishes and this one is no different. Here are just a few reasons why we know you’ll love it.

Flavor: This is one of our all-time favorite salads. The flavors meld together perfectly to create a delicious blue cheese salad that is rich and bold, yet light and flavorful. Lemon juice brings out the brightness of this salad while the anchovy paste provides a hidden flavor that is undetectable yet bursting with umami. Blue cheese and homemade croutons tie it all together to create a salad you’ll enjoy serving and eating time and time again.

Simplicity: The flavor of this salad is found in the dressing, and the dressing only takes a couple of minutes to make. If you have all the ingredients and you need to put salad on the table, this is the one to make. It’s a consistent crowd-pleaser, and you’ll be ready to serve it about as fast as you can pull ingredients out of the fridge.

Scalability: This salad is so easy to scale! We love making it for guests, whether we know how many people to expect or not. Hosting a party for 5? No problem – double the recipe and add some extra lettuce. 10 people? Multiply by five. Guests hungrier than you expected? Bulk up the salad by tossing in some extra add-ons like sunflower seeds, cranberries, sliced strawberries, or apple slices. Get creative and make the salad as large as you’d like for however many you need to feed.

Ingredients Needed to Make Jacques Pepin’s Blue Cheese Salad

To make Jacques Pepin’s Blue Cheese Salad, you’ll need several sets of ingredients. Here are a few tips to go with some of the ingredients you need.

The Croutons:

Stale Bread: Stale bread is ideal because some of the moisture content has already evaporated. They’ll get nice and crunchy when you bake them. You can use fresh bread if that’s all you have, you’ll just need to keep an eye on them and bake them a little bit longer.

The Dressing:

Anchovy Paste: We know, we know – you probably hate anchovies. But don’t scroll away just yet! Anchovy paste is used all the time in traditional Italian cuisine because of the amazing umami boost of flavor that the paste adds to dishes. You won’t even know it’s in the salad dressing but it will add an incredible burst of flavor that you can’t get any other way.

Lemon Juice: Fresh is ideal, but the bottled from concentrate kind will do in a pinch if that’s all you have.

The Salad:

Blue Cheese: There are many types of blue cheese, and all of them are good in this salad. If you’re short on time, get pre-crumbled blue. If you want to crumble it yourself, then choose your favorite blue cheese.

Equipment You’ll Need In the Kitchen

  • Baking Sheet: A non-stick baking sheet is best. However, any baking sheet will do since the croutons will be lightly coated in oil and the oil will prevent them from sticking.
  • Medium Bowl: You’ll want a bowl to toss everything in and another bowl to serve the salad in. Clear glass bowls are our favorite because they make an excellent presentation pieces when serving guests.
  • Knife: A good chef knife is essential in our kitchen. We love our Victorinox and use it daily.

How to Make Jacques Pepin’s Blue Cheese Salad

Blue Cheese Salad Ready to Serve

This recipe will come together in a snap and it’s so good, that you might just eat the whole thing yourself.

Make the croutons

First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Brush the slice of bread on both sides with oil, then place it on a baking sheet.

Bake the bread for about 10 minutes, until both sides are brown.

Let it cool slightly, then tear or cut the bread into 1-inch pieces. 

Pro tip: If you’re making this ahead, let the croutons cool completely then store in an air-tight container for two to three days.

Make the dressing

Salad Dressing

First, make a coarse paste out of the garlic by crushing it with a fork or mincing fine with a knife. Next, coarsely chop the anchovy filet or squeeze out 1/2 tsp paste from the tube into the bowl.

In a bowl, mix the garlic, anchovy, lemon juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper until well combined.

Pro tip: If you’re making the dressing ahead, place it in a glass jar and store it, covered, in the fridge for up to two days.

Make the salad

Jacques Pepin's Blue Cheese Salad

Once the dressing is ready in the bowl, all you need to do is add chopped lettuce to the bowl and mix well. Serve the salad on a plate with a sprinkling of croutons and blue cheese. 

This salad is meant to be served immediately. It is not recommended to add the dressing more than 30 minutes before serving.

Variations on Jacque Pepin’s Blue Cheese Salad

Jacque's Blue Cheese Salad

This salad makes an amazing base to experiment with. Try the following toppings whether you need a side salad or you want to turn this into your entire dinner.

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Pomegranate Pips
  • Mandarine Orange Segments
  • Rotisserie, BBQ, or Baked Chicken
  • Cubed or Thinly Sliced Steak

Pro tip: Make Steven Raichlen’s T-Bone Steak recipe and save some steak to top off this salad before you dig in!

Jacque’s Blue Cheese Salad Tips, Tricks, and FAQs

Can I make the croutons ahead of time?

Absolutely! Make the croutons up to several days before you need them. Allow to fully cool on the cookie sheet, then place into an airtight container until you’re ready to use them.

Can I make the salad dressing ahead of time?

You certainly can. Make the dressing and store it in a glass bottle up to a couple of days before you’re ready to use it. Then, when it’s time, pull it out, shake it well to mix all the ingredients, and place on the salad just prior to serving.

Can I use storebought croutons?

Making croutons from leftover bread will always be better than anything you can buy in a package. That said, if you’re running tight on time or you simply want to forgo the step of making croutons, you can definitely substitute them for a store-bought option.

Can I use anchovy filets instead of anchovy paste?

Yes, you certainly can. If using filets, mince two filets into a paste for this recipe. Ready-made anchovy paste is much more condensed in flavor which is why the recipe calls for so little of it. It also comes in a resealable tube that keeps for a long time in the fridge. If you don’t use anchovy much, I’d highly recommend using paste instead of opening a whole can or jar for two anchovies.

Print
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Blue Cheese Salad Ready to Serve

Jacques Pepin’s Blue Cheese Salad


Description

This is a light, refreshing, and flavor-packed salad that is perfect when feeding two or a crowd. 


Ingredients

Units Scale

For the Croutons:

  • 2 slices Stale Bread
  • 3 tsp Olive Oil

For the Dressing:

  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1/2 tsp Anchovy Paste
  • 4 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Salt and Pepper

For the Salad:

  • 4 cups Romaine Lettuce
  • 4 Tbsp crumbled Blue Cheese

Instructions

Make the croutons

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Brush bread on both sides with oil, then place on a baking sheet.
  • Bake bread for about 10 minutes, until both sides are brown.
  • Let cool slightly, then tear or cut the bread into 1-inch pieces. 

Make the dressing

Crush garlic with a fork or mince with a knife until it forms a coarse paste.

Measure out anchovy paste.

In a bowl, mix garlic, anchovy, lemon juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper until well combined.

Make the salad

Add chopped lettuce to the dressing bowl and toss well. Serve with a sprinkling of croutons and blue cheese. 

Notes

This salad is meant to be served immediately. It is not recommended to add the dressing more than 30 minutes before serving.

  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Chop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Salad, Blue Cheese, Jacques Pepin, Fresh

Join the Conversation

  1. Wow, was this tasty! Now my fave way to use blue cheese! 🙂






    1. So glad you enjoyed it! It’s one of our absolute favorites!

  2. I’m a huge Jaque Pepin fan! And this salad was as delicious as I expected. Thanks for sharing it!






    1. We love Jacques, too! His recipes are always so scrumptious!

  3. Looooved the blue cheese in this and that dressing was perfect! I didn’t tell anyone there was anchovy in it and you would never know it! Yum!






    1. Isn’t that wild? It just contributes to the overall taste but you’d never know it was there!

  4. Love how simple the dressing was to whip up and that you can use this as a side or a light lunch!






    1. Yes! The simplicity of this flavor-packed salad is one of our favorite things about it.

  5. This turned out just how I was hoping it would. It was so fresh, crisp and delish!






    1. We’re so glad you loved it!

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