Over the past month, I have been in a self-imposed study/job hunting hibernation. It turns out that finding a full-time job in a country where you do not speak the language, and do not live during a recession is not a walk in the park. The same goes for professional law exams. Shocking, I know. My world has largely shrunk to the four walls of my room, and I now consider the cast of the West Wing, the lecturers in the online courses I am taking, and my cat to be valued members of my social circle. This is all by way of explaining that grocery shopping and cooking have fallen far down the list of priorities, and my meals tend to consist of working around whatever is lying my parents house (who are kindly hosting my self-imposed exile) and needs using up.
Yesterday, it was lettuce and so it was Caesar salad for dinner. Traditionally Caesar salad should be made with crispy Romaine or Cos lettuce, but I am not a big fan of spiney lettuce, and so bog standard just labelled ‘lettuce’ was fine with me. This is a classic dish which has been horribly abused the world over, but it is very quick and easy to make your own. The recipe is slightly adapted from Alastair Little’s ‘Keep it Simple’ and that is what I did. I (yes, I know this is Caesar salad sacrilege) do not really like anchovies, so tend not to serve them on top, but might add a small amount of minced anchovy (1/2 teaspoon or so) to the dressing.
- 1 head cos or romaine lettce, washed and drained
- 75g parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 5 tbsp olive oil (more if frying croutons)
- 1/4 baguette or 2-3 thick slices of country bread
- 1 tin anchovies
- To make the croutons, tear the bred into small 2-3cm cubes.
- If you have the time, toss with 2 teaspoons of oil, place in a baking dish and bake at 160C for about 45 minutes or until crisp and golden on the outside.
- If you are in a rush, you can fry them in oil.
- Place the egg yolks in a bowl along with mashed anchovy,worcestershire sauce, garlic, water and lemon juice and whisk together.
- Gradually add the oil bit by bit, whisking the whole time until it emulsifies.
- Stir in half the grated parmesan.
- Rip up lettuce into large pieces.
- Toss lettuce with the dressing and the croutons.
- Top with anchovies if desired.
- Serve the remaining parmesan in a bowl, so people can add as much or as little as they want (if give my way I would add an unwholesome quantity that I will not recommend here).