The legendary Caesar salad has become all the rage. It can be made in a few minutes at home. We like to serve it in deep bowls as they do in Australia but chilled white plates or deep wide soup bowls are also perfect.
1 large head of Cos (Romaine) lettuce
2oz (50g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano if possible)
2 slices white bread, diced into 1/2 inch (1cm) cubes
2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
2 egg yolks, preferably free-range
2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 x 2oz (50g) tin anchovies
1 clove garlic, crushed
a generous pinch of English mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 tablespoon (1/2 – 1 American tablespoon + 1/2-1 teaspoon) Worcester sauce
1/2-1 tablespoon (1/2 – 1 American tablespoon + 1/2 -1 teaspoon) Tabasco sauce
6fl oz (175ml/3/4 cup) sunflower oil
2fl oz (50ml/1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
2fl oz (50ml/1/4 cup) cold water
Wash the lettuce leaves, dry really thoroughly and chill lightly wrapped in a tea-towel in a bowl while you make the dressing.
I make it in a food processor but it can also be made very quickly by hand. Drain the anchovies and crush lightly with a fork. Put into a bowl with the egg yolks, add the garlic, lemon juice, mustard powder, salt, Worcester and Tabasco sauce. Whisk all the ingredients together. As you whisk, add the oils slowly at first, then a little faster as the emulsion forms. Finally whisk in the water to make a spreadable consistency. Taste and correct the seasoning: this dressing should be highly flavoured.
Next make the croutons. (see recipe)
To serve, put a tablespoon of dressing per person in a big bowl, add in the chilled whole lettuce leaves, croutons and about half the parmesan. Toss the leaves gently but thoroughly in the dressing.
(This is done most effectively with the hand, but if this does not appeal to you, use salad servers.) Add more dressing if necessary to coat the leaves. Arrange the dressed leaves on individual chilled plates. Scatter the crisp croutons over the top and sprinkle the remaining parmesan on top. Serve immediately.
Note: The remaining dressing will keep covered in a fridge for several days.
03/11/2016 (SH/DA) (6144)
Sprinkle over salads or serve with soups.
1 slice of slightly stale pan bread, 5mm (1/4 inch) thick
sunflower or olive oil
First cut the crusts off the bread, next cut into 5mm (1/4 inch) strips and then into exact cubes (a cube is a six-sided square with equal sides).
Heat the sunflower or olive oil in a frying pan, it should be at least 2cm (3/4 inch) deep and almost smoking.
Add the croutons to the hot oil. Stir once or twice, they will colour almost immediately. Put a tin sieve over a Pyrex or stainless steel bowl. When the croutons are golden brown, pour the oil and croutons into the sieve. Drain the croutons on kitchen paper.
Note: Croutons may be made several hours ahead or even a day. The oil may be flavoured with sprigs of rosemary, thyme or onion.
Croutons may of course be stamped out into various shapes, hearts, stars, clubs, diamonds, etc….
1. Pile the croutons onto a soup spoon and serve alongside the soup bowl on the underplate.
2. Drop fancy shaped croutons onto the surface of the soup just before serving, scatter with chive, wild garlic or coriander flowers in season.