hail caesar

food detective

Categories: Salads and Dressings, Supper, Lunch, Posted on October 16, 2016 by Sandy Bergsten

I love reading the food section of the New York Times. It’s a welcome break to the whirl of today’s headlines. Turning the pages I’m thrilled to discover a recipe for something that should be relatively easy to make, but for some reason never quite turns out.

Imagine my excitement when I saw a feature article for the perfect Caesar salad. I’ve tried for years to master this. As I read through the steps I was intrigued that the dressing was thickened with a poached egg. And better yet, it declared that you could poach the egg in your microwave.

OK- who in his right mind encourages readers to poach an egg in a microwave oven? Of course if you tell people there is a simple solution to something usually complex we will jump at it.

I should have known better. But I blindly believed what I saw in print. So I placed an egg in a little dish of water, shut the microwave door, hit the timer, and watched it go round and round. Water bubbling, egg gently bobbing. I was amazed that there really was an easy way to poach an egg… until KABOOM. Egg explosion in my microwave. It looked like page three of the New York Times. What a colossal mess, it took an hour to clean. Lesson to us all- if a shortcut seems to good to be true, then it probably is. 

Wiping away the last of my egg-mageddon I still wanted to know if this recipe worked, minus the microwave of course. This time I would poach the egg using my tried and true method.

For this Caesar salad use a hand blender to combine the garlic, anchovies, mustard, large pinch of salt, and about a dozen grinds of black pepper

Add the olive oil and lemon juice. 

Blend until smooth. 

Poach the egg in simmering water until the yolk is thickened but still runny, about two minutes. Drain the egg using a slotted spoon.

Add the egg to the dressing and blend. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. The dressing should be pungent and sharp but not acidic. Blend again, transfer to a container with a tight fitting lid. Chill until ready to use. Will keep in the refrigerator for a week.

Wash and spin-dry 12-16 ounces romaine lettuce. Tear the large leaves crosswise into bite-size pieces. Leave the small inner leaves whole. Place the greens in a large bowl.

Shake the dressing. To the greens, add one and a half cups of croutons, a quarter cup of dressing, and two ounces of Parmesan cheese.

Toss well. Taste and toss with remaining dressing as needed.

Add the remaining croutons. Sprinkle the remaining two ounces of grated cheese over the top, add grinds of coarse pepper. Serve immediately (or refrigerate covered for up to 2 hours). Toss once more at the table.

For a light supper top with sliced grilled chicken breast.

One bite of this cold, crunchy, tangy salad and you’ll find the flavors literally explode.

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