Whether in a pinch or on purpose, bagoong works as a surprising substitute for anchovies. It's funkier and saltier, for sure. But with a careful hand, the Pinoy condiment delivers that meaty umami that makes Caesar salads so good. And while we're here, we added two more local ingredients to the mix—chicken oil and grated quezo de bola—to make a Filipino Caesar salad.
What makes this Caesar salad Filipino?
The dressing: Instead of anchovy fillets, this Caesar salad uses bagoong, or Filipino shrimp paste. It works in pasta, so why not in salad dressing? Use a bagoong brand you love.
The cheese: Freshly shaved Parm? Nope. This salad uses grated quezo de bola. The semi-hard cheese has a nutty, mildly salty flavor that works not just over ensaymada, but showered over a salad, too.
The croutons: Homemade croutons beat store-bought croutons any day. Just slice some bread into small squares, coat lightly in oil, then toast until crunchy. And instead of using neutral or olive oil, we toss our bread pieces in chicken oil—the liquid gold that goes on your rice with chicken inasal. Annatto-colored oil will color the croutons a bit, but will still be savory and delicious.