Caesar Salad is, in my opinion, one of the World’s great salads and one of America’s contributions to haute cuisine . Apart from the crispness of the Cos/Romaine lettuce used, this really stands or falls on the dressing. This dressing comes from Delia Smith’s Summer Collection from the days when she cooked properly instead of “cheating” (so sad and such a complete travesty). In fact, this dressing is the reason I bought the book.
|preparation time:||15 mins|
- 50 g crustless white bread cut into 1cm cubes
- 1-2 tbs olive oil
- 1 rounded tbs Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 (very) large egg
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 heaped tsp mustard powder
- ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 150 ml olive oil
- 40 g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- salt & pepper
- 2 hearts of Cos/Romaine lettuce
- 1 x 50 g tin anchovy fillets, drained (but keep the oil for the dressing)
First make some croûtons. Preheat the oven ot 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Place the cubes of bread in a bowl and stir in 1-2 tbs olive oil, the crushed garlic glove and one tbs Parmesan grated cheese. Now spread the croûtons on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake them high in the oven for 10 minutes. Keep watching so that they do not burn. Remove them and let them cool.
Now make the all-important dressing. Break the egg into the bowl of a food processor (a small one is best). Add the garlic clove, 2 anchovy fillets, lime juice, mustard powder and Worcestershire sauce. Blitz that all together until smooth then, keeping the processor running, drizzle in the anchovy oil and olive oil through the feeder funnel. When all the oil is incorporated you should have an emulsified sauce about the consistency of pouring cream. If it’s a little too thick, slacken it slightly by whisking in some water. Season it with salt and pepper to taste.
Break up the lettuce leaves into a serving bowl. Snip in the remaining anchovy fillets (having separated them first, of course) and mix to distribute them. When you are ready to serve, pour over some salad dressing and toss thoroughly to coat the leaves. (You should not need all the dressing.) Sprinkle in the Parmesan, toss again, and scatter over the croûtons.
This makes a great starter. For a variation and to turn it into a more substantial meal for lunch, say, try serving it topped with grilled chicken breasts cut into fine strips. For some real fun, use Cajun blackened chicken breasts.