This really should be a scratch and sniff blog…. When you walk into the Pure Joy building and you smell my Grandfather’s Crouton recipe in the ovens you know you’ve arrived at a very good place. The toasty cubed fresh French bread, fruity olive oil and butter, the fresh local oregano and garlic meld with the Parmesan, and damn, it’s good. As a Special Event Chef for over 30 years, in my humble opinion, Caesar Salad is one of those classics that has been butchered and stretched to oblivion. Two great quote that I love come to mind; these are posted over my desk in the Pure Joy Catering Offices; Da Vinci’s “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” and one that has gained such meaning to me from my son who is a Stanford product designer & engineer, “Don’t try to be original, just try to be good”. Yes, you can scrunch Russian black kale and make delicious gluten free croutons with vegan cheese and use no anchovies and make a really wonderful Caesar Dressing – and I do - but….sometime just really nailing the original can be simply glorious.
So, if you have had enough mediocre Caesar Salads, here’s a keeper for you. All from the genius Grandfather who raised me to love simply well prepared good food that we now share with thousands of very Special Event Guests.
A Caesar Fit For The Gods
1 lb. baguette or pain rustique
4 oz. butter
2 Tbl. olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, ground
1.5 tsp. crumbled dried oregano, or 2.5 chopped fresh
.5 cup shredded good Parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cube the bread in as uniform ¾th inch squares as you can, leave the crust on & put into a large bowl. Drizzle with the rest of the ingredients & toss it to coat. Spray 2 half sheet cookie type pans with olive oil or vegetable oil. Spread them out in a single layer & bake 10 minutes. Remove from the oven & flip them around a bit then bake 5 or 10 minutes more till golden & your house smells like heaven.
Grandpas Caesar Salad Dressing
I know, you think you don’t like anchovies – eew! – just trust the Gods and try this, I PROMISE, everyone will love it.
Put all of this in the blender:
1.5 cloves garlic
½ can of good anchovies with the oil (you can freeze the other half)
Half a lemon’s juice
Give it a whirl, scraping down the sides then add;
.25 cup red vinegar
half of a beaten good fresh egg
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dry mustard
.4 tsp. salt
.4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
drizzle into the hole of the blender lid you’re while blending;
.5 a cup of good olive oil
One large head of good fresh romaine or the equivalent of baby romaine washed, chopped & spun dry then chilled. Additional shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish & voila.
Cook with love, passion and integrity~
Lynette La Mere