Caesar Salad with Crouton Collars
- Crouton Collars:
- 1 (4-inch thick) sourdough or French baguette, cut into 2-inch thick slices
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Caesar Salad:
- 1 egg yolk, coddled
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 anchovies (or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste)
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (the real stuff, not the dried stuff)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup safflower oil, or olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 2 large heads romaine lettuce, outer leaves discarded, remaining inner leaves washed and thoroughly dried
- 4 crouton collars
- 1/2 cup freshly grated imported Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Using your fingers, pluck the doughy section of bread away from the crust leaving a 1/4-inch thick collar of crust. Place the crusty collars in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss and squish the bread like a sponge until the oil is evenly absorbed.
Place the oil-soaked crusty collars on a baking sheet, standing up so that the hot air can circulate through the "O", and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until collars are crispy and golden brown.
Place the egg, in its shell, in boiling water for 40 seconds. Remove, run under cold water for 15 seconds to stop the cooking process, then use as directed.
To make caesar salad dressing, add salt and pepper to the salad bowl (this creates a sandpaper-like base that will make the next steps easier). Using the back of a soup spoon, grind the garlic against the wall of the bowl until it becomes a paste. Then add the anchovies, and once again use the back of the spoon to grind it into a paste. Follow the same procedure, adding the Dijon, egg yolk, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce, 1 at a time. Make sure that each ingredient is blended into a smooth paste with the previous ingredients before proceeding.
Add the oil and vinegar. Blend well.
Note: If you don't have a rough wooden salad bowl, the dressing can be made (with some sacrifice) in a blender. Add the salt, pepper, garlic, anchovies, Dijon, lemon juice, Worcestershire and vinegar. Puree. Then add the oil and pulse a few times. Add the yolk and pulse a couple more timesjust enough to blend it without causing the dressing to turn mayonnaisey.
Contains Raw Eggs: The Food Network Kitchen suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell. For recipes that call for eggs that are raw or undercooked when the dish is served, use shell eggs that have been treated to destroy salmonella, by pasteurization or another approved method.