Saturday, August 10, 2013

Caesar Salad - Kind Of

I wanted to make an elegant looking, but somewhat deconstructed Caesar salad for a fancy party at hour house. We were saying thank you to a friend who came in from out of town to teach a class for Madame, and he, his wife and the others are all rather intense foodies. So, we had to be on form.
Thanks to Julie Collins for the Photograph

The main ingredients in a traditional Caesar salad are Romaine, garlic, egg, oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Parmigiano-Reggiano, croutons, salt and pepper. Since anchovies are major components of Worcestershire sauce, I don't use them when making a Caesar salad.
This salad had all of the above but in a rather different way.


8 1 3/4" bread rounds (thinly sliced rounds)
1t (very rough measurement) garlic oil
8 quail eggs + 1 quail egg yolk to be warmed in the lemon juice.
Romaine leaves from the heartof the romaine.
1 t (again rough measure) lemon oil - lemon zest steeped in oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
2 T olive oil (doesn't have to be EV)
2T high quality olive oil (preferably EV)
2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Romano cheese


Brush the bread rounds with garlic oil, place them in muffin tins, pressed down to make an indentation in a muffin pan. Bake in a 400F oven for about 6 minutes, checking to make sure they don't burn. The length of time depends on the bread. Turn them out of the tin, return to the oven for a further 3 minutes to brown. Allow them to cool to room temperature. This can be done well in advance.
Put a little salt and pepper in the base of each round and break a quail egg into the ound.

Thanks to Julie Collins for the photograph
Put a few drops of garlic oil on top of each egg to protect the surface from the hot oven. Bake the quail egg croutons for 3-4 minutes until the egg is almost set.
Make the dressing using the lemon juice, quail egg yolk, Worcestershire sauce and oils.  Assemble the salad, placing a few drops of lemon oil on the plate and sprinkling the pepper. As you can see from the picture, we served the dressing "on the side" in a pipette, so people could dress the salad themselves.
This was served with a 2002 Gravonia from the Rioja valley. The grape is 100% Viura (something we don't see often). Bone dry, minerally, complements the lushness of the egg crouton perfectly.

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