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My Mother's Cooking - How to Make a Classic Caesar Salad
Classic Caesar Salad
My Mother's Cooking
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The Difference between Parmesan and Parmigiano-Reggiano Chees
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CLASSIC CAESAR SALAD
Many restaurants feature Caesar salad on their menus, but very few of them make the classic version. They add anchovies, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, chicken and even mayonnaise, none of which appear in a classic Caesar salad. I learned how to make Caesar salad from a recipe in the New York Times food section almost fifty years ago and I have been making it ever since.
My good friend, Don Herman, who passed away several years ago, always asked me to make a Caesar salad for his annual wine tasting dinner. It was his favorite salad and it worked out well because it contains lemon juice instead of vinegar and it contains a lot of garlic which goes exceptionally well with almost all red wines. I prepared as much as I could in advance, but I always finished it just before dinner was served.
The key to a good Caesar salad is to make it fresh and to use good quality extra virgin olive oil and freshly grated parmigiano–reggiano. Both of those ingredients are best purchased in an Italian market where they will generally be cheaper and better quality. The other ingredients include romaine lettuce, garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice and one-minute boiled egg yolks.
All other ingredients except homemade croutons, salt and freshly ground black pepper are superfluous. You will also need a large salad bowl and a salad fork and spoon for mixing. (You can also use some large tongs instead)
3 Heads of Romaine Lettuce
1 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Cup of Grated Parmigiano-reggiano
3 Eggs at room temperature
6 Garlic Cloves peeled and crushed or sliced
2 Cups of fresh Bread Cubes (French or Italian bread)\
Freshly squeezed Lemon Juice from 3 Lemons
1 Teaspoon Salt
Pepper to taste
- The night before, add the sliced garlic cloves to the olive oil and let them sit overnight in a small jar or covered container.
- Trim the crusts off of the bread and cut the slices into ½ inch cubes. Spread them out on a plate and let them dry overnight.
- An hour before the meal, wash and dry the lettuce leaves, tear them into bite-sized pieces, place them in the salad bowl and store them covered in the refrigerator.
- Next, pour about 1/3 of the oil (minus the garlic) into a frying pan and lightly brown the bread cubes, turning them often to keep them from burning.
- Place the room temperature eggs in warm water and bring them to a boil for one minute. Immediately place them in cold water to stop them from cooking farther. The egg whites should be set, but the yolks should be soft enough to pour out when the eggs are broken open.
- Squeeze the lemon juice into a cup and remove any seeds.
- At the table, pour the remaining olive oil (minus the garlic) over the lettuce and toss thoroughly. Add the salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Next add the egg yolks, lemon juice and parmesan cheese and toss well. Taste for seasoning, add the croutons, toss lightly and serve the salad.
Once you have made this classic recipe, I believe that you will not want to add a lot of other ingredients, but that is up to you. Before you play jazz you should learn how to play classical music.
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