We ate in wonderful Italian restaurants. Some had ceilings that looked like faraway silver stars were glistening on deep faraway inky black skies;
...Between the tables ran little sparkling streams as if we were outdoors in an Italian Countryside...
I began to spend a lot of money eating out and realized i was getting addicted to the tableside Caesar salad...so, I asked about it and began to put together my recipe. I was told that a fine hotel restaurant in Mexico was the birthplace of this amazingly healthy and scrumptious feast. After-hours one night, the owner and some guests were in a poolroom or rec room, and got hungry. The main kitchen of the hotel was closed. They put together the ingredients they had at hand, and the Caesar salad was born...And, the daughter of the owner sells a bottled version of the dressing in grocery stores to this day, i understand.
For now...I agreed to post this recipe for the Caesar salad that came from several months of interviewing, learning and experimentation...It always left us feeling great.
MARY'S KILLER CAESAR
First one must keep in mind that all ingredients change the outcome.
Romaine lettuce may be bitter or sweet depending on inner or outer leaves and the time it was picked. Also the varieties of Romaine have a different flavor.... I love to grow this lettuce.
Lemons may be sweeter or more tart depending on how ripe they are.
The olive oil of course varies greatly in its richness or fruitiness, its sweetness or its spiciness. I love Alessi. in a little jug.
|Extra virgin olive oil for Caesar salad Alesssi|
Pepper. Grind it, just a little is needed. Dried mustard.
The bread chosen for the croutons ( Hawaiian for me, or a hearty full grain). The Pecorino Romano and/or Reggiano Parmesans chosen for grating. The green herbs chosen to put on the croutons. Are you using a very fresh farm egg yolk?
Obviously one combination can result in a certain taste, while another combination will result in a different taste. You may lean towards a sweet or mild salad, or a spicier, more tart and savory salad.
Add that to whether you're drinking it with ice cold Perrier or sparkling water, or a delicious sauvignon blanc or a sweet Chardonnay...
Besides the ingredients mentioned above, you will also need a very large bowl. I use two utensils, a rubber spatula and a spoon or slim pancake turner to gently mix.
You need Worcestershire sauce, and I prefer Lea & Perrins, the others are way too salty. Lea and Perrins has anchovies in it, but if you would like you may use a little bit of anchovy or anchovy paste as well.
1. The romaine lettuce should be washed thoroughly and put in the refrigerator so that it is ice cold and crisp when used later. I like the deeply formed leaves which one may find at organic stores often or grown in one's own garden. The deeply grooved leaves rather than flat factory grown Romaine can hold the flavors much better.
2. The olive oil should be extra virgin of course and one favorite has been Alessi in the little jug.
|I love this stuff|
3. Lemons, fresh ground pepper, worchester sauce, 1 or 2 very fresh egg yolks, ground dry mustard.
Wine to drink during preparation
4. Chicken--- only the brand "Smart Chicken" or a local humanely killed chicken, that is, a chicken that has lived a normal life, outside, happy... and was slaughtered in a humble and grateful manner.... read up on Smart Chicken; you will see what I mean. Plus it is the most delicious chicken $ can buy...
5. Garlic. Besides some nice powdered garlic, I take a couple of garlic cloves and warm them with some of the olive oil in a tiny cast iron skillet--- chopped finely while in the skillet with the oil, until the oil becomes extremely warm and the garlic becomes a bit soft. Then turn off the heat, do not cook or simmer.
6. Croutons!. I pull apart Hawaiian bread into crouton-size chunks or cut/rip a nice whole wheat bread into small squares. I put them on a pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic and some green herbs (Italian Blends or perhaps summer savory), a bit of grated Romano or Parmesan cheese and put in the toaster oven until the bread is Toasty. You can undertoast it a bit and let it sit for an hour to get crisp. IF you use a nice whole grain bread like Dave's Killer Breads--be careful. the whole grains can get HARD when you toast. so, toast ever so lightly and let it sit in the over and dry out for an hour or two....
Have to run..Will edit tomorrow
You know what the French say, the best first course is anticipation...
OK here is how i make my Caesar Salad.
Play some nice music. If you are in love, perhaps some old Bee Gees.
/the-blacklist-music-sounds-of-silence.html or this is so nice and uplifting: the-blonde-in-new-steven-tyler-country.html
First i wash the lettuce and if it is already crisp, i rip some of the large dark leaves into smaller pieces, separate the small inner leaves and put back in the fridge. If it is not crisp i wash and put in the fridge to crisp up for an hour, and rip it later. You may be using a whole head, or just the inside leaves if it is a huge head of lettuce. I guess after ripping into pieces (which are 2 or 3 inches by 2-4 inches in size) and separating smaller leaves, you will have 3-5 cups of lettuce...(The typical huge Caesar bowl is about 3/4 full but settles down as liquids are added...)
i put a little olive oil in a cast iron tiny skillet and chop up some fresh garlic cloves, maybe 2, and heat it gently in the oil. I let that cool, and add it when i add the olive oil later.
I extract a fresh farm egg's yolk. I then juice at least half or a whole lemon on top of the egg yolk in a small cup and let the lemon make the yolk clean and healthy. I also say grace for the good ingredients. Anything can make you sick, anything can make you healthy.... learn to cook and eat with a grateful heart. Say grace!
I take my bread, rip as described above in croutons! and prepare these sometimes even a day ahead of time.
I take a huge bowl and put the lettuce, ripped (sometimes i might cut the huge green leaves for color and nutrients) into pieces, into the bowl. I wipe out any water from the bowl with a clean napkin. I then sprinkle about a teaspoon, maybe up to 3 teaspoons of dried mustard powder onto the lettuce and lightly toss. then a teaspoon, maybe 2, of garlic POWDER and toss lightly. if you use anchovy or paste, you should put that in the bottom of the bowl first and it will slowly become incorporated, -- or you can mix it into the lemon/yolk mixture.
Now you have a big bowl full of lettuce with seasoning on it. you may add some fresh ground pepper, a tiny bit of Italian herbs or I just use summer savory, a wonderful green herb that tastes like pepper, if you like.
Add a tablespoon or two of the Worchestershire sauce and toss lightly.
Now, mix the yolk and lemon briskly with a fork and pour into the bowl, again tossing lightly. You can add more lemon juice here, up to a full lemon and a half. Add a bit of anchovies paste or an anchovies for more punch. Taste.
Now, after the lemon it should taste flavorful and a bit lemony. The lemon is going to be balanced by the oil and cheese. So, if you like a lot of cheese, you need to have plenty of lemon and Worcestershire sauce.
I have been known to put the bowl back in the fridge for a few minutes now. (After you add the oil and cheese, you need to serve it as soon as possible for the best taste. Don't get me wrong, i eat this a day or even 2 later, all wilted and weird, but for guests it's nice to have it perfect.)
Now you have two toppings...IF i may use the word toppings. These turn a healthy, delicious salad into a rich, fabulous, mouth-watering main course which is good enough to make a preacher cuss.
The croutons, and the chicken.
I cook my 2 Smart Chicken Breasts with full on spices, Monterey chicken spice, in a skillet in a bit of olive oil. Don't overcook. After resting for a few minutes, I then cut the chicken into pieces ranging from small to large bitesize.
Let the chicken and croutons be slightly warm, or room temperature, but not hot.
You can lightly toss the chicken and croutons, as they will soak up a bit of the spectacular dressing you just made and be the better for it. By lightly toss, i mean use the spatula and the spoon to gently lift and turn the contents of the bowl a few times. Gently! I know, you can arrange the chicken and croutons without tossing, and it looks so nice. That's OK. It tastes better if you toss.
I sprinkle large shreds of romano or parm on top of the whole thing. a bit of pepper, coarse grind. a pinch of a green herb...
This meal will make your body feel good. It is good for the tastebuds, nutritional intake, intestine, and enjoyment while cooking.
I was asked to make this detailed enough for some friends to follow without error... hope this was accomplished!
Yes it will wilt in the fridge 24 hours later. So...no worries. I eat it until it is gone!