discovering a simpiler life

discovering a simpiler life

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Hail Caesar

Hands up if you don't own a salad spinner? Don't even know what it is? This is disastrous you know, go out immediately and get one, your salads will thank you and so will your hip pocket as your lettuces and herbs will last so much longer if you use one. They get so much excess water out of your greens which will keep them for days longer in your crisper.

Cos lettuce from the garden

So now we are over that hurdle, Caesar salad, one of my favourites but it can be done so terribly that I rarely order it out due to being constantly disappointed....over cooked black hard boiled egg, watery under cooked poached egg, no egg, too much dressing, watery dressing, no dressing, soggy croutons, packet pre-grated parmesan cheese that isn't really parmesan cheese, grated cheddar cheese, dried out bacon, cheap anchovies are some of the crimes committed against poor old Caesar.  I'm here to share with you my tasty version.

So you all know how to poach an egg from my older post "the quickest dinner for one". But you can do 4 minute soft boiled eggs (eggs in cold water, into a pot, once reaches boil time 4 mins and then cool under cold water to stop cooking). Pop your oven on to 200c while you are at it too. You can poach the eggs in advance if it helps during the dinner frenzy, just gently put them on kitchen paper and set aside in the fridge until you need them, and you can get everything else prepared before hand too, just don't, and I mean really don't put the dressing anywhere near the lettuce until you are about to eat it, no limp Caesars wanted.  The other ingredients you will need for 4 people is:

1 good sized cos lettuce or maybe 2 if you are serving this salad in a large bowl communal style
2 rashers of bacon, cut into slices
4 poached eggs
2 tbspns best foods mayonnaise (The BEST mayo!!) or whole egg mayonnaise 
1-2 tbspns lemon juice or apple cider vinegar 
1 large good quality anchovy fillet like Delicius, finely chopped, and some for the table
Sea salt & pepper, lots of cracked pepper
3-4 sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley
2 slices of ciabatta bread or sour dough, cut into cubes, leave the crusts on
1 clove of garlic slice in half
1/2 cup or so of peeled/shaved parmesan, using your veggie peeler

Place bread in a bowl and drizzle with a little evoo, sea salt and pepper.  When the oven is hot, put the bacon onto a tray and put in the oven, 10 mins later add the bread cubes, keep an eye on them so they don't burn, around 7-10 minutes.  Shaking them every few minutes to get evenly browned.

In a jar large enough to take 1 cup of liquid, put in mayonnaise, lemon juice, S & P, parsley and anchovy and give a really good shake, check for tartness and seasoning, may need more lemon or mayonnaise.  If you are watching your calories substitute low fat sour cream for all or half the mayonnaise, but hold back on as much lemon juice.  Try and avoid low fat mayo's, they really are nasty, better to use less of a better quality whole egg one than more of  a crap, over processed, tasteless low fat one.

Take bacon and croutons out of oven and allow to cool.
Take any tough stalky centres out of the cos leaf and wash, spin thoroughly in your new lettuce spinner.  Slice the leaves into 1 cm strips.
In a large bowl place the cos, bacon, croutons, half the parmesan and just before serving add some of the dressing, around 3 tbspns, and gently toss until all is nicely coated but not dripping in dressing, you may need more or less.
We use Millel parmesan blocks to support hubbies work and its yummy too

If serving out on 4 plates, evenly distribute the salad, top with poached egg, and garnish with parmesan shavings, cracked pepper on the egg.  Make sure you can see some croutons and bacon just so its appealing to the eye. I'm not a mad anchovy person so I always put the anchovy jar on the table for people to help themselves.  This is also great served in a large bowl on the table, just slice the eggs in half.  You can also take this to a dinner party or bbq but assemble it there, you won't be sorry for the hassell.  Hail Caesar!!

 We had roasted chicken drummies and spuddies with ours, delicious!!! And can I just add for the the record, our 6 yr old ate 3 anchovies!!! Her dad is way chuffed.

If you give it a go or want any other tips let me know, I love getting your comments.

Ciao, Jan


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