Sunday, November 29, 2015

Super Salad Sunday: Caesar Salad

Now that the Thanksgiving holiday is over and done with, we all feel properly bloated and somewhat terrified about the fact that this is just the beginning of the holiday eating season, with office parties, fancy dinners, and more holidays. In between all the festivizing, I plan on eating light at home. 

This Caesar salad is adapted from Harold Dieterle's Kitchen Notebook cookbook (link is not an affiliate). It's tangy and very delicious. J grilled up some chicken for us to toss on top of this salad, so it was a complete meal in and of itself. If you have the ingredients in your pantry/fridge, this is a very easy meal to throw together after working late. I will give this disclaimer: There are no croutons, because I do not like them. But you could add them, of course.

Total prep time: 25 minutes

Total cook time: None, unless you are making a protein

What you will need: 

1+ heads of romaine lettuce (you can buy it pre-shredded if you prefer)
2 large egg yolks (which requires you to separate the eggs)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (I did not have a lemon in my fridge, so I used the substitute. It still tasted good)
2 anchovy filets (preferably packed in oil)--get a good tin of anchovies. The difference is noticeable.
2 small garlic clove
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 blended or neutral oil (Canola is my oil of choice)
1/2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1/3 cup freshly grated/shredded parmesan/reggiano cheese
kosher salt and plenty of black pepper, to taste

Useful equipment: Mini food processor or blender. 

Shred your romaine and place to the side in a large bowl. Dieterle's recipe calls for 4 cups of shredded romaine, which is one decent sized head of romaine, but when I made the dressing recipe, I found that this really overly dressed 4 cups. So you can either reduce your measurements on the dressing, or add more romaine. I chose to add more romaine, because let's face it, after a tough day of work, who wants to do math? 

Next, in a small bowl, separate your eggs. Here's trick: Make sure you separate them in to separate bowls. The last thing you want is to mess up your first egg by breaking the second egg into a separated bowl. Also, some people are able to separate an egg using their hands or the eggshell itself. I applaud those people, but I am certainly not one of them. I use an egg separator, which also happens to make me smile.

In a food processor or a blender, combine the egg yolks, Worcestershire sauce, garlic (you should roughly chop the garlic cloves), mustard, lemon juice, anchovy filets (also roughly chopped) and a good dash of black pepper. 

Start combining until it turns into a liquidy-ish paste, then start adding your neutral oil. 

Dieterle says you should add it in a slow stream so as to allow it to emulsify, but the food processor I was using doesn't have a way for me to add mid-chop, so I just stopped it every few seconds and poured a little more oil in.

As the oil is added and you continue to blend/process, the dressing thickens up and becomes very delightfully creamy. You should start taste testing at this point and see what you think needs to be added. For example, I add way more lemon juice and garlic and black pepper than Dieterle calls for because those are the flavors I really like in my Caesar dressing. But it's all up to you!

Mmmm, thick, creamy dressing. Lightly toss your romaine dressing in it, plate, and top with an abundance of fresh cheese (you could also add cheese while you blend the dressing to make it extra cheesy).

Serve (if you're going to serve with protein, add that now), and enjoy!

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