The Great Southern Caesar

A classic salad gets the southern treatment by swapping smoked trout for the usual anchovies and serving it with a DIY version of fried mozzarella sticks. “I think people can be [nervous] about frying things at home, but it’s pretty straightforward,” says chef Kelsey Barnard Clark of the restaurant favorite.

The secret to fried cheese that’s crispy and firm outside and gooey inside? Use a thermometer to make sure your oil is jussstttt right at 350 degrees before your cheese makes the plunge, she says.


• 2 oz. smoked trout

• 1 clove garlic

• 2 egg yolks

• 1 lemon

• 1 tsp Dijon mustard

• 1 Tbsp olive oil

• ½ cup vegetable or canola oil

• 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan

• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


• 3 romaine hearts, chopped

• fresh Parmesan for grating

• Parmesan crackers

Fried Mozzarella

• 6 slices fresh mozzarella

• 1 cup all-purpose flour

• 2 eggs, whisked

• 1 cup Panko bread crumbs

• ½ cup parmesan, saved or grated

• 2 cups canola oil

Combine all dressing ingredients in a food processor and pulse until mostly smooth. Set aside.

Pour oil in a fry pan or pot and set over medium-high heat. As the oil heats, prepare the cheese. Place flour on a plate and eggs in a bowl. Combine panko and Parmesan in a separate bowl. Coat each slice of cheese in flower first, then eggs, then the panko-Parm mix, making sure all sides are covered in breading. When the oil reaches 350 degrees F, fry cheese until lightly golden and breading is crispy, flipping if necessary. Remove with tongs and place on a cooling rack.

Toss romaine with dressing and crackers, top with freshly grated Parmesan and serve with mozzarella.