Friday, June 25, 2010

Fresh Caesar Salad, Homemade Croutons With Fresh Herbs, Soft Shell Crabs, Beer Batter Shrimp.

The wonderful thing about growing your own food is experiencing the incredible flavors of something just plucked from the earth. Let's pick some Romaine lettuce for the Caesar Salad.
Here's my little row of Romaine with a few volunteer Black Seeded Simpsons popping up. I picked the lettuce early in the morning, washed it, wrapped it in paper towels, and chilled it.
Whenever picking lettuce from the garden, be sure to wash well.
One always hates to find extra protein in one's salad. Now, I shall tell you how to make The.Best.Croutons. you will ever eat.
Go out into your garden and pick parsley, sage, rosemary, and assorted thymes.
Tear or use a serrated knife to cube an Italian or French loaf of bread.
Mince the herbs.
I minced 4 cloves of garlic.
Melt about 4 TB LOLUB, add 3 TB ELBOO, and pour in garlic and herbs. Stir to mix well.
Add in bread and toss quickly to coat.
Cook and stir over medium-low heat for a few minutes. Rosie Hint #414: Never let garlic burn. It gets bitter.
Spread croutons out in single layer in baking pan. Bake in 300 degree oven for an hour or so until croutons are crunchy. If you've had better croutons, I'd like to know. The Hawthornes' Caesar Salad Dressing coming up:
Caesar Salad Dressing 1/2 tin of anchovies 5 garlic cloves juice of one lemon heaping tablespoon of Gray Poupon Dijon heaping tablespoon of Lea & Perrins chunk of good Parmesan approximately 2" x 1" x 3/4" I'd be happy with more. I use Il Villagio Parmesan from the Teeter. 1 coddled egg 1/2 cup or so Extra Light Bertolli Olive Oil On to the method:
I'm only using 1/2 tin of anchovy fillets because I don't want to have a whole bunch of dressing to be eaten every day until the dressing is consumed before it has a tendency to go slightly poissonie unless you keep adding lemon juice to it. Learn from me, people. So, what will I be doing with the other 1/2 tin of anchovies? Tomorrow, I will be making a batch of my version of Boar and Castle Sauce. I've promised you this several times, and now I'm here to deliver.
I'm looking at the leftover anchovies and I'm thinking, "There are no fillets here. Usually there are fillets. This is mush."
They still smell just as bad as the fillets, so I figger they're good to go.
Add in the minced garlic and ...
... mortar and pestle it ...
... until it's nice and mooshy.
Add in the juice of one lemon or more, depending on your taste.
Lemon peeing. Hah!
Whisk in mustard ...
... and Lea & Perrins.
To coddle an egg, bring water to a boil, remove from heat, drop egg in it for 60 seconds.
Add in the coddled egg.
Whisk, whisk, whisk.
You want this nice buckskin color. Taste test to see if you need more lemon, mustard, or L & P. Adjust as necessary.
Slowly whisk in olive oil. About 1/2 cup or so. Taste test. I use Bertolli Extra Light.
Whisk in grated Parmesan cheese. Cover and refrigerate. On to the cole slaw.
I took a wedge of green cabbage and sliced it.
Added in a small bit of sliced red cabbage and some julienned carrot. You could add a bit of onion if you like. Perhaps some multi-colored pepper confetti. Why not cucumber? Explore your options. And taste as you go along.
I added in a tablespoon or so of sugar ...
... and a tablespoon or so of cider vinegar.
And three small plops of mayo.
Salt and pepper and mix well. Cover and chill.
On to the FISH.
Lovely tuna fillet. I used freshly ground salt and pepper and lemon zest for my seasonings.
Heat up your pan, add a tablespoon or two of LOLUB and some ELBOO. The butter is for flavor. The olive oil is to raise the smoke point of the butter so you can cook at a higher heat.
Sear each side about 2 1/2 minutes.
Deglaze pan with juice of one lemon, stir in some butter, and add some capers. For a special pop, I added in some green coriander seeds from my cilantro plants.
And pour over top of tuna. Mr. Hawthorne is in charge of the frying.
He whupped up a beer batter.
When the oil gets hot (350 - 375 degrees), drop in the battered shrimp. Use the end of a wooden spoon to check the temperature of the oil. Bubbles should bubble vigorously out of the wood if the temperature is right. Fry until brown - a minute or two.
Drain on paper towels.
We also had some soft shell crabs which he did in the beer batter. I prefer soft shells done in seasoned flour, then beaten egg, then a mixture of flour and semolina flour as opposed to a beer batter, but we're keeping it simple today.
A fried feast.
This is the best Caesar salad and croutons you will eat.
Trust me on this.
Has Rosie ever led you wrong? I think not.
Fried shrimp. Fried soft shell. Seared tuna with a lemon/butter/caper sauce and fresh, green coriander seeds. Cole slaw. Tartar sauce - mayo, minced dill pickles, sweet relish.
The little tiny green seeds are the coriander seeds from my cilantro plants. They're cilantro-ey and citrus-ey.
Bon appetit!

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