Saturday, September 11, 2010

Boyfriend Snaring Caesar Salad

Boyfriend Snaring Caesar Salad

Ok, so that’s not the original name of this salad, it’s: Chez Bob’s Caesar Salad. But the truth of the matter is, the old adage of ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’ is spot on as far as advice goes.

This was one of the first recipes I ever made out of my pieced together cook book. It’s a staple for me, and as early on as my boyfriends in high school, I’ve been having wonderful luck with snaring men using this recipe. Note, if you are dating a guy who ‘doesn’t eat greens’ or ‘doesn’t like salad’ you may just want to re-think the guy all together with, before going forward. Just Say’in.

The other night, I was stumped as to what to make for dinner for the Chief Commentator, as luck would have it, a random opportunity came up for me to run into an old boyfriend. Figuring who better to ask then someone whose heart I landed via his stomach, I candidly asked, ‘what was your most favorite dish I made’? His first response was Stuffed Peppers (that one is to come ladies, I promise) but shortly after, he replied, ‘Your Caesar salad is amazing, and I’m not just saying that, because I order it everywhere, yours is the best, because of its dressing.’

As we parted ways, I thought about it. I had made the Chief Commentator my Caesar early on in the relationship, but I certainly hadn’t made it recently, and I most definitely hadn’t made it since I started this blog. I made a beeline for the grocery store, and made it up tonight, for our salad.

(Edited Sunday, 9/12/10) The Chief Commentator loved it so much, that tonight (the next day)he begged me to make again, this time with him so he could learn. He wanted to experiment with the difference between the anchovy and using the anchovy paste so take two used the anchovy itself. (see his comments below)

I’m pretty sure this one came out of a ‘tween magazine too. I have no idea which one, because it’s totally clipped. The font looks like YM tho.

Chez Bob's Caesar Salad
(Serves two as a meal and four as a salad course)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1 - 3 cloves (depending on you and your guests' garlic threshold) garlic, minced
1 anchovy (or 1 tsp anchovy paste)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard (the real stuff not the dried stuff)
1 egg yolk
juice of 1/2 lemon,
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable (or olive) oil
1 medium-large head of romaine lettuce. Discard outer leaves. Wash and dry remaining leaves thoroughly, then slice into bite-size pieces.
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 cup croutons (I prefer homemade, but do what you want)

1) Into a large wooden salad bowl add ingredients up to the vinegar in order, one at a time.
2) After adding each new ingredient, use the back side of a soup spoon to blend it with the previous ingredients into a smooth paste.
3) Add oil & vinegar and blend well
4) Just before serving, add lettuce and toss thoroughly.
5) Add croutons and cheese, toss again, and serve.

Here are a couple of comments from “chez bob” that you may want to know, in regards to making it etc. Caution on eggs: There is a new school of thought that claims eggs should never be consumed unless they are fully cooked throughout. More-moderate thinkers believe that coddling an egg will kill most of the potentially harmful bacteria. If you are at all concerned about the risk of raw egg consumption, do not make this recipe. To avoid most of the potential problems, coddle your eggs by placing them, in their shell, in boiling water to cover for 40 seconds to one minute. Remove and use as directed.

then there was an editor’s note: For an egg-safe Caesar, omit coddled egg, use 3 tablespoons of egg substitue or mayonnaise. Or mix one large egg white with lemon juice; cover and chill at least 48 hours or up to 4 days. We taste-tested the recipe without egg yolk and it was delicious.

Sam’s note: I always use the egg. I’ve never had a problem.

chez bob’s Le secret: Romaine lettuce is the godfather of Caesar lettuces because it ‘wears’ the heavy dressing so well. if you must substitute, use another hearty lettuce. After washing the lettuce, us a spinner or a towel to remove all water. Water from wet leaves dilutes the dressing. For maximum crispness, return the prepared lettuce to the fridge until just before serving. If you are preparing the lettuce hours in advance, you can avoid browning edges by cutting the leaves with a sharp knife instead of tearing them.

Adventure club: Use imported Italian reggiano parmesan , grated just before using,(the key to the definitive Caesar) and good croutons (Sam’s note: duh?!?)

Garnish – top with an extra sprinkle of cheese

Suggested Accompaniments: This salad is complete on its own.

Alternatives: The anchovy is, of course, optional. Omit it or try replacing it with a sun-dried tomato. Because olive oil can overwhelm the dressing, try safflower oil (Sam’s note: This dressing would NOT be the same, not even close without the anchovy, if you don’t think you will like it, try it anyway. seriously. and I always use vegetable oil, because I do think the olive oil is too heavy)

Notes: Lettuce leaves should be coated but not soaked in dressing. Adjust amount of dressing for more or less lettuce to keep salad from becoming too “wet”

Music to cook by: Leonard Cohen, I’m your man (Ironically, the lyrics to this song, is about a man doing anything for you… I get the same response from the men eating this salad…)

Wine – a well chilled Australian Chardonnay (Sam’s comment.. I love it with anything, although I think my favorite (and choice of the night) Piper Brut Champagne.

Ok – now a couple of “Sam Secrets” since this is one of those recipes I’ve made hundreds, upon hundred’s of times.

1) use the anchovy paste instead of the fresh anchovy. I prefer the texture of the paste, as did the Chief Commentator after trying both.

2) juice of ½ lemon is about ¼ cup if using concentrate. Or I should say ¼ cup is what seems to taste the best. I prefer to use the concentrate UNLESS MYER LEMONS ARE AVAILABLE. Then go with the fresh Myer. But for consistency. Concentrate all the way.

3) No matter how small you dice the garlic, it’s always too chunky for my taste, unless you use one of those fancy motor boat sauce mixer things. Use garlic powder, a solid tablespoon full and then a little more, if you need more garlic flavor. Your dressing will have a much richer texture and you will thank me later.

Chief Commentator – why have you been hiding this gem from me? You know how much I love this one. You made it for me in the beginning, and then you stopped (oops busted!) I told him it was my boyfriend snaring salad, and he said, well maybe you should rename it boyfriend keeping salad, because this is a favorite and we need to eat this at least once a week.

His comments specifically about the salad: Preferred Anchovy paste to the anchovy filets, although he did like having chunks of the filets tossed on top of his salad for an added salty treat. The Croutons - crostini’s from the bruschetta I made, were perfect broken up on top.

Chief Commentator also thinks that kids will dig the dish.

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