I read a blog recently which commented that the Caesar salad is the poster food for dining mediocracy, every laminated A4 menu is likely to contain a substandard version and you can always add chicken for an extra $5. For the long-servers of the hospo industry I get that nails down a chalkboard is a more pleasurable sound than someone ordering a Caesar salad…with dressing on the side. We’ve moved on in our salad eating ways to sprouted nuts, supergrains, nasturtium flowers, fusions and infusions – so then why do we need dry croutons and parmesan cheese? I’ll tell you why…because when it’s done well its blimmin’ delicious.
It must have cos lettuce, the bacon needs to be crispy, the dressing needs to be made from scratch with lots of anchovy, the eggs need to be soft boiled or poached and the parmesan needs to be just that, real parmesan.
Use this recipe to bring back a classic.
Makes 4 individual or 1 large saladFor the Caesar dressing
2 egg yolks
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp vinegar
500ml rice bran oil
500ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp cold water
½ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ cup grated parmesan (plus extra to serve)
2 anchovies (plus extra to serve)
For the salad
8 rashers streaky bacon
2 slices crusty bread
2 large cos lettuces, quartered
1. In a food processor blend the egg yolk, mustard and vinegar.
2. Turn the processor on to medium speed and slowly add the olive oil. Once ¾ of the oil has been used, add the water. Then slowly add the remaining oil.
3. Add the cayenne pepper, grated parmesan cheese, anchovies and pepper to the dressing and blend until combined.
4. Soft boil four eggs. Preheat your oven to Grill.
5. Lay your bacon on an oven rack sitting on an oven tray with a lip (this will catch the excess fat). Once your oven has reached temperature, place the bacon in and cook until crispy. Cool the bacon on paper towels to drain any excess oil.
6. Cut the bread into squares and cook in the oven tray containing the bacon fat or for a healthier option, spray lightly with olive oil and bake until golden
7. Arrange cos wedges, soft boiled eggs, bacon, croutons and Caesar dressing on plates. Top with grated parmesan and, if you are adventurous, extra anchovies.