Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tom's Classic Caesar Salad [Zack]

I have very fond memories of learning to make a true caesar salad from my uncle Tom.  I went over to his apartment for one of our cooking sessions and was surprised that our grand adventure was making a lowly salad.  Surprisingly, crafting a classic caesar salad with Tom taught me a lot of useful tips!

We uncorked a bottle of white wine, turned up the music, and had an amazing meal.  I had never realized that the original Caesar salad didn’t contain cream, but did contain anchovies!  I learned a lot of through the process:
  • Adding the correct amount of anchovies to a recipe does not mean that you can necessarily distinguish their flavor, but they can quietly enhance the taste of the dressing
  • What a “coddled egg” is and how to soft boil an egg
  • That I should actually use an egg timer for its intended purpose instead of guessing – there are certain things in the kitchen that you can’t do by feel
  • It’s way more fun to learn how to make a classic recipe from scratch versus glopping it out of a squeeze bottle


Get a small pot of water boiling for your eggs.  Reduce the water to a simmer and place your eggs gently into the pot and start the timer.  Take 1 egg out after 4 minutes (coddled egg for the dressing), and leave the rest in until your timer has reached between 5 and 7 minutes.  Five minutes will give you a runny yolk, 7 will be “just set”.  Take the pot off the heat, gently pour out the hot water, and fill the pot with cold water to stop the eggs from cooking.  Peel the eggs after they have cooled off for 5 minutes.

Slice your day-old bread into cubes. Place them into a frying pan with a generous amount of butter + olive oil.  Keep an eye on the bread and make sure to mix it around frequently.   It’s up to you how you would like to flavor the croutons – my favorite is garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and some type of dried herb.

Now, on to the dressing.  If you have whole anchovy filets, you’ll need to add them to a bowl and mash them up with a fork.  This will take a bit of muscle/patience.  Once you have a paste, add the minced garlic and peeled coddled egg.  Mash these up with a fork a bit to combine.  Then, whisk in the liquids - mustard, red wine vinegar, and olive oil.  Crack a ton of black pepper into the bowl, and add the grated parmesan cheese.

In a bowl, toss the lettuce with the dressing and add any other toppings that you’d like.  I usually add sliced red onion, a soft-boiled egg, croutons, and sometimes sliced avocado.  You can get as creative as you’d like: shrimp, chicken, sliced leftover steak, etc.

Makes 2 dinner-sized salads or 4 side salads

4 anchovy fillets or 1T anchovy paste
1 medium garlic clove
1/2T mustard
2T apple cider vinegar
4T olive oil
1 coddled egg (soft-boiled for 4 minutes)
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Salad ingredients:
a head of lettuce
a few eggs
sliced parmesan cheese
day-old bread
herbs and spices for the croutons
olive oil

Song:  Zusammenklang - Morgenblaue

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