Thursday, February 03, 2005

One of my favourite salads "The Caesar"

Last Sunday we served a massive Caesar salad. It has become quite a common place salad and on occasion we like to whip one up to remind everyone served that not everyone can make a GREAT Caesar salad - we like to think ours is pretty good.

Another reason we decided to make Caesar salad is that P and I went to a friend's birtday dinner at a surburban Italian restaurant and ordered a $14 yes $14 Caesar salad and it was just such a pathetic excuse for a Caesar salad we were so bitterly disappointed we had to make one to restore our faith in this classic.

I recall my first introduction to Caesar salads about 23(?) or so years ago. My brother's ex-wife a Canadian came to stay with us and she wanted to make a Caesar Salad. She was so disappointed that the only lettuce we could find was an iceberg lettuce and we only used the darkest outside leaves we could find.

Boy does that take me back, only one type of lettuce what a laugh:)))))

I have this thing when it comes to certain classic dishes to want to find the quintessential recipe and have recalled various things I have read over time about how best to make salads including Caesar salads.

When I make a Caesar salad I combine and sort and take from the various hints those that I prefer for practicability and form what I consider would produce the best recipe. This one is mine:

(Will serve approximately 6 adults)

Some hints and how to:
Make the dressing in a bowl (wooden preferably)
Rub a cut clove of garlic around the bowl before making the dressing.
1 x. medium cos lettuce Wash, break up the cos lettuce leaves into bite sized pieces, then spin till dry in a salad spinner.
(Always spin and dry salad leaves as salad dressing disperses best over dry lettuce)

2 pieces of Bacon - dice and fry (leave aside on absorbent paper)
1/4 loaf of Turkish bread - cut into bite sized pieces and sauteed in some olive oil till slightly browned all over (leave aside on absorbent paper)
1/2 cup Italian parmesan finely grated (at least Grana but Reggiano is best if you can afford to)

1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 clove garlic crushed and diced
Dijon mustard ( 1 tablespoon)
sea salt to taste
1/2 lemon squeezed
cracked pepper (freshly ground as much as you like)
1 egg coddled (in a dish in the microwave 10 seconds at a time till egg white just starts to colour)
3 anchovies finely diced (optional)
splash of Worcestershire sauce

Add mustard, garlic, lemon juice, coddled egg, anchovies, pinch of sea salt in the bottom of the salad bowl. Begin whisking the ingredients and slowly pouring in the olive oil until well combined. Add Parmesan, Worcester, anchovies and cracked pepper.

I prefer to use less salad dressing rather than more - so I may remove some maybe 1.3 of the dressing from the bowl first.

(Never dress salad till the last possible moment before serving - dressing wilted leaves being in my books a crime against humanity. Equally incomprehensible to me, never overdress a salad).

Then I add the lettuce leaves and about 2/3's of the bacon and Turkish bread and Parmesan and begin to toss. When all the leaves are nice and glossy and the dressing appears evenly dispersed (adding dressing if necessary) I would sprinkle the remaining bacon, Turkish bread and Parmesan over the top just prior to serving.

*Not so egotistical to think this is the penultimate recipe or anything I can always improve If there is anyone else who makes this salad, I would love to hear what they consider makes a good Caesar Salad.

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About Me

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Mother of two with one of each. Wife of one.Dogless. Busy working five days a week, baking and cooking when time allows. Writing rarely these days. Wishing I had time to read more often.