Thursday, April 12, 2012

recipe share: my caesar salad

i love a good caesar salad. the first time i had a real, made-from-scratch, caesar salad was at my faerie godfather's house, long ago. it was, and still is the most delicious caesar i've ever had.  

(what is a faerie godfather, you ask? the same as a faerie godmother. but better - because instead of glass slippers, he and his husband gave me an iron spine and dared me to put it on when i was at my most "in-the-closet-frightened. together, my faerie godfathers taught me how to cook and throw proper dinner parties. i still don't quite throw "proper dinner parties like they do in their home, but my standards for proper food and good ingredients were definitely raised because of their influence. in fact, i still remember the very first meal i had at their house. and balking when i was told that bottled salad dressings were forbidden in their home. i get it now. obviously. but i digress.)

my caesar salad diverges from my faerie godfather's and the traditional recipe in that i do not include a raw egg in my ingredients list. i don't know why. i guess i've always been a bit uncomfortable with the idea - even though cerebrally, i realize that the lemon's acidity essentially cooks the egg. in my head, i also think the omission of the egg also extends the life of the dressing.

the long and the short of it is, this is the caesar salad i make all the time. it's more tangy than creamy, not to mention quite substantial.

and the wife devours it to the extent that if there is dressing around, no romaine lettuce head is safe.


salad dressing

2 cloves garlic
4-6 anchovy fillets (or to taste)
the juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauces (or to taste. i am quite liberal because i love it)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
dash tabasco sauce (optional)
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste (i go easy on the salt and grind the pepper mill like heck)

croutons (i make this fresh with whatever bread i have to hand, tossed in a bit of extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and a pinch of cayenne. i then toast the lot in the toaster oven for about 10 minutes at around 375 C)

romaine lettuce, chopped up to bite sized pieces, as you like
freshly grated parmegianno regianno

other accompaniments
i often add other vegetables to my salad. my favourites are avocados and cremini mushrooms. or add your protein of choice - cooked chicken, salmon, or beef would be delicious with this, too.


i used to use a mortar and pestle to blend the ingredients together. but now i use my faerie godfather's method, which is  put everything in a measuring jug and use a hand blender to blitz until everything is emulsified. then i taste and adjust the seasoning - adding bits of the ingredients here and there depending on my mood.

toss the salad and dressing together. serve with a fresh grating of parmigianno regianno, as much or as little as you like.

i know this shot is terrible.
it was the best i could do that night.
you get the gist though, right?

if you try the recipe, let me know how you like it!

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