Friday, May 30, 2014

Caesar Salad

When I got home from work one day, I found a small box from an unknown sender waiting for me. Inside was a can of Wild Planet White Anchovies. And then I remembered a Facebook message from a representative of Wild Planet, urging me to enter my tuna casserole recipe in their tuna casserole contest. She then offered to send me some free samples of their brand. I was expecting tuna, maybe a couple cans. But I got one can of anchovies. And they don't even have the anchovies on their Web site, so do they even sell them anymore?  ::::shrugs:::

What does one do with one can of anchovies? Make Caesar salad!

I have never been a fan of anchovies, although I appreciate the wonderful Asian condiment made from the tiny fish. Fish Sauce adds just the right amount of funky umami to foods, including Caesar salad. But this time, I used actual, whole, anchovies.

I admit I was a little afraid to open the can. Would it be full of unpleasantly hairy stink-beasts that aren't worth picking off an old-school pizza? Or would they be more like the boquerones we had on our salad at the Arthouse? Thankfully, they were the latter. The can was full of small whole fish, minus head and tail, packed like, er, sardines. They were in there so tightly, it was difficult to pull out a whole fish without mangling it somewhat. That of course did not affect the flavor at all. They were pleasantly mild, just fishy enough to make the salad taste like a proper Caesar.

We did not use all of the anchovies for our salad--there were far too many in the can. But, mashed with a fork and added to puttanesca sauce later in the week, they were amazing.

Caesar Salad (adapted from The Reluctant Gourmet)

1 large egg
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 medium garlic clove, crushed
1 pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup virgin olive oil
2 medium heads of romaine lettuce -- outer leaves removed
Parmesan cheese
White anchovies

Bring a small pot of water to boil, add the egg and cook for 60 seconds. Remove the egg from the water and run under cold water until cool enough to handle.

In a bowl or a food processor, combine the Worcestershire, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper, and mustard. Gently crack open the egg and add to the rest of the ingredients. Whisk or pulse until smooth.

Slowly dribble the oil in a thin stream while whisking the dressing, or pour through the feed tube of the food processor while processing. The dressing should be emulsified.

Tear the romaine into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Add half of the dressing and toss well. The leaves should be coated but the salad shouldn't be drenched or soggy. If it needs more dressing, add it, otherwise refrigerate leftover dressing and use within 2 days.

Toss in the croutons and top with Parmesan cheese shavings and anchovies.

Serves 4.

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