Thursday, October 18, 2018

You Should Know How To Make A Proper Caesar Salad.

One of life's greatest pleasures is a proper Caesar Salad.
And Rosie's here to show you how to make one.
Step by step.
Inch by inch...

A proper Caesar salad starts with proper croutons.
Which start with a proper loaf of homemade bread.
Here's my basic bread recipe:  sandwich loaf.
I made this recipe for the dough and used three foil 4 x 8-inch loaf pans in which to bake the bread.
If you want to cheat, get a baguette from the grocery store.  Something from the deli.  Just don't use a white loaf of Wonder bread.  That is of the Devil.

Cut the bread into cubes.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt about 3/4 stick of unsalted butter and a tablespoon of oil and drop in the bread cubes, tossing to coat evenly.

Add in 3-4 tablespoons of oregano, shaking the pan.
You could also add in a bit of thyme, sage, rosemary, Italian seasoning.  It's all good.
Keep shaking that pan and tossing the cubes for about 5 minutes.

After sautéeing the cubes for a bit, squeeze in 3-4 cloves of garlic.
You don't want to add the garlic at the beginning - you don't want to burn it.  Gets yukky bitter.

Toss, shake, stir.  Keep those cubes moving.

Turn cubes into a baking pan and place in a slow and low oven (300°) for about 30 minutes.
Or until they get nice and toasty and golden.

These will be the best croutons you've ever eaten.
Try not to snack on all of them before you make the salad.

Now for the dressing...
This dressing is a starting point for you.  Once you get the hang of it, you might want to adjust for your own tastes, for example, more garlic, or more lemon, or more whatever.

There are two caveats:
1)  Taste test your Parmesan cheese first.  Get a good quality Parm.  I like Il Villagio.  I do not like Stella.  Your mileage may vary.  If you can, taste test the cheese before you buy.  (Go to Trio Wine Beer and Cheese.)
2)  I prefer a neutral olive oil for my Caesar dressing, so I use Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil.  You don't want the olive oil to overpower the dressing and, let's face it, some olive oils taste like turpentine.  Try the Bertolli first and if you want to be adventurous afterwards, again taste test before you buy.  (Go to Outer Banks Olive Oil Co.)

Caesar Salad Dressing
4 anchovies
4 garlic cloves
juice of one lemon
2 TB gray poupon Dijon mustard
1 TB Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1 coddled egg
3/4 cup Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Rinse off the anchovies in cold water.
Finely mince and mash the anchovies.  You could use a mortar and pestle here.
Mince and mash the garlic along with the anchovies.
Stir in the lemon juice, the mustard, and the Lea & Perrins.
To coddle an egg, bring a small container of water to a boil.  Drop the whole egg in and let it sit in the water for 1 minute.  Take the egg out and crack it into the mixture.  Whisk well.
Slowly, a tablespoon at a time, whisk in the olive oil, to make an emulsion.
Your mixture should be a nice buckskin color. 
Taste test.
Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Mash up the anchovies.

After mashing the anchovies, add in the minced or pressed garlic.
I use a mini-processor or just a bowl and a whisk.
Mr. H. prefers an immersion blender.

Lemon juice in.

And process.

Dijon and Lea & Perrins in.

And process.

Finely grate the Parmesan.

Drop an egg into boiling water to coddle it.
One minute is enough for coddling.

Add the coddled egg to the mix.

And process.

Now start processing the olive oil.  One tablespoon at a time.  You want to emulsify the mixture.

Till it looks like this.

Stir in the grated cheese.
And you have Caesar Dressing!

Toss with torn Romaine lettuce and homemade croutons.
If desired, grate more Parmesan cheese over top.

And admit that this is the BEST Caesar Salad you've had.

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