Emma’s Caesar Salad

Timing is surprisingly important to perfecting this classic

It is nearly impossible, without some great stroke of luck, to find a Caesar Salad of excellent quality in any regular restaurant. In fact, it is one of those dishes for which timing is surprisingly relevant, and freshness is paramount for each and every ingredient.

I have been disappointed time and time again to the point that I simply never order it while eating out. Fortunately for me, Emma makes a delicious version, including the dressing, that I am happy to share with you here.

Ingredients:
Makes 2 serves

For the salad:

4 rashers of the best free range bacon you can find
2 baby cos lettuce hearts, washed and ripped
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 slices stale bread
6-8 anchovy fillets
2 large free range eggs
White/Red/Apple Cider Vinegar for poaching
Olive oil for frying

For the chicken (optional):

1 large skinless chicken breast
1tsp Salt
1/2 tsp White Pepper
1 tsp Smoked Paprika

For the Dressing:

1 cup real (whole egg) mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 clove of garlic (minced)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp of milk or half and half

 

Method:

If you’re going to have chicken, start by dusting the breast with salt, white pepper and paprika. I usually do this by mixing the three in a bowl first then sprinkling over and rubbing it in. You can season it with whatever you like, this is just what we had in the pantry. Either grill or pan fry in a non-stick pan then wrap in foil and put aside to soften and cool.

Next, the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a bowl or a jar and shake for a minute, then refrigerate.

Grill or pan fry the bacon in a non-stick pan, pat with kitchen towel and set aside. I prefer to cut it into smaller segments after it’s been cooked, generally at least 1cm wide. Next the crutons, cut into 2cm squares and shallow fry in olive oil. If you’re feeling greedy, by all means use the left over fat in the pan from the bacon too, waste not want not eh!?

Get ready to poach the eggs by bringing half a saucepan of water to the boil along with a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of vinegar.

Meanwhile, wash, dry and tear the cos lettuce into a mixing bowl. Add the cherry tomatoes, parmesan cheese, half the bacon and half the crutons. Spoon in a little of the dressing at a time as you mix the lot with your hands. Transfer the dressed lettuce to your two serving bowls and scatter the remaining crutons and bacon over the top. If you like anchovies, now is the time to spread this over the top as well. Slice the cooled chicken however you like and arrange over the top of the salad.

Once the water is boiling, reduce to a low simmer and gently crack in the two eggs.

You have just a few minutes to get everything else ready; cutlery, a drink, clear a space on the table. When the eggs are ready, carefully lift, drain and place atop the salad, season and serve.

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