Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mock Caesar Salad

IMG_10124 by you.

2 cups loosely packed escarole
1 slice stale bread (about 1 oz)
1 1/2 tsp canola or peanut oil

1/2 clove garlic, peeled
1 anchovy fillet in oil, coarsely chopped
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp olive or peanut oil
Dash salt
Dash freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp crumbled blue cheese, or a combo of blue with pieces of Cheddar, Camembert, etc.

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Remove and discard any wilted or damaged areas from the alad leaves and break the greens into 2-inch pieces. Wash and dry them thoroughly in a salad spinner.

3. Brush both sides of the bread slice with the oil and place it on a small baking sheet. Place in the 400-degree oven for 10 min or until nicely browned on both sides. break or cut into 1-inch pieces.

4. Mash the garlic clove with the tines of a fork into a coarse puree. Combine it in a small bowl with the chopped anchovy, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

5. No more than 30 minutes before serving time, add the salad greens to the dressing in the bowl and toss well. Sprinkle with the croutons and cheese, serve immediately.

Again, I doubled this. It ended up being enough for 3 small side salads. I used some of the leftover soda bread from yesterday to make the croutons, which turned out delicious. I'm not normally a big fan of croutons since the store-bought kind are always rock hard, but these were perfect. Nice and toasty/crunchy on the outside, but still a bit of chew to them.

I assume that the reason Jacques refers to this as "mock" caesar salad is because of the lack of raw eggs. I think nowadays, most people exclude that part anyway (or use a pasteurized or coddled egg instead), although the dressing definitely was more of a vinaigrette without an emulsifying agent in there.

I also thought it interesting how he refers to blue cheese as the standard choice. I think most caesar salads I've had in restaurants use parmesan. I'm not sure if that's because parmesan is a more innocuous choice or not. I'll have to do a little research on "traditional" caesar recipes.

Cheats & Changes:
I think I used a little bit less olive oil than called for in the dressing recipe. I'm not entirely sure, since I sorta eyeballed it. I probably could have done a better job mashing up the garlic, and next time I'll probably just use my (gasp!) garlic press.

Oh, and I'm super lazy when it comes to salad, so I almost always use pre-packaged mixed spring greens. I'm partial to the Earthbound Farms organic stuff. What else...oh, I used my toaster oven to make the croutons so I wouldn't have to heat up the whole house with the oven. I gotta scrimp where I can now that we're in the thick of the Texas summer. Bleh.

The Verdict:
Again, T & I both really liked this. I thought the anchovy was going to be a problem for Troy, but surprisingly, he really liked it. He later told me that he had sardines and anchovies confused, thus last night's disappointment. The anchovies added a nice saltiness and just a hint of brine. I think if I hadn't mentioned it, he never would have known they were in there. T declared this a vast improvement over last night's salad.

This was very quick to make. I tossed everything together while the chicken and rice were cooking and it all timed out perfectly. T told me he was still thinking about the salad this afternoon, so I will definitely be making it again.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds really good. I usually don't like Caesar dressing because it is too rich, but this one sounds perfect!