Thursday, January 19, 2006
JULIA'S CAESAR SALAD
I substitued spinach leaves for the romaine since that is what I had on Hand. I also used the 1 tsp of mayo instead of the egg. It still was a very good Caesar-like Salad.
JULIA'S CAESAR SALAD
18 to 24 crisp, narrow leaves from the hearts of 2 heads romaine lettuce, or a package of romaine hearts ( about 1 pound)
1 cup Plain Toasted Croutons
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup or more excellent olive oil
1 large egg
Freshly ground black pepper
1 whole lemon, halved and seeded
2 T freshly grated parmesan cheese, imported Parmigiano Reggiano only
Preparing the Salad Components
Seperate the romaine leaves and wash them carefully to keep them whole, roll them loosely in clean towels, and keep them refrigerated until serving time.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the crusts from 4 or more thick slices of home-style white bread and slice bread into 1/2 inch strips and then the strips into 1/2 inch cubes, to make 4 cups. Spread the cubes in a single layer on a cookie sheet and set in the oven for about 10 minutes, turning once or twice, until lightly toasted on all sides. Spread the cubes on a tray to cool.
To flavor the croutons, crush the garlic clove with the flat side of a chef's knife, sprinkle on 1/4 tsp of salt, and mince well. Pour about a Tablespoon of olive oil on the garlic and mash again with the knife, rubbing and pressing to make a soft puree.
Scrape the puree into a frying pan, add another Tablespoon of oil, and warm over low-med heat. Add the croutons and and toss for a minute or two to infuse them with the garlic oil, then remove from the heat.
To coddle the egg, bring a small saucepan of water to the simmer. Pierce the large end of the egg with a pushpin to prevent cracking, then simmer it for exactly 1 minute. One teaspoon of mayonnaise can be substited for the egg.
Mixing and Serving the Caesar
Dress the salad just befor serving. Have ready all the dressing ingredients and a salad fork and spoon for tossing.
Drizzle 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over the romaine leaves and toss to coat, lifting the leaves from the bottom and turning them toward you, so they tumble over like a wave. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper, toss once or twice, then add the lemon juice and serveral drops of Worcestershire, and toss again. Taste for seasonings, and add more if needed.
Crack the egg and drop it right on the romaine leaves, then toss to break it up and coat the leaves. Or use 1 tsp of mayonnaise instead of the egg. Sprinkle on the cheese, toss briefly, and then add the croutons and toss for the last time, just to mix them into the salad.
Arrange 6 or more leaves in a single layer on individual plates, scatter the croutons all around, and serve.