Monday, May 12, 2014

Caesar Salad (with Shrimp)

Caesar Salad (with Shrimp)

I have been working on a Caesar salad dressing to add to my repertoire. I thought it would be great to have Caesar salad this summer with grilled chicken or shrimp.

But I wanted to avoid the raw egg part or coddling the egg so I decided to try using lite mayo instead -- because mayonnaise is mostly eggs and oil.

The first time I made it, I over-salted it, not remembering how salty the anchovies would be.
The second time, I used WAY too much garlic, and paid for it the rest of the night.
The third time, I got it right.

Here's my twist on the classic Caesar salad.  It's lemony and creamy.

Caesar Salad (Shortcut)

Serves 2-4

2-3 heads of Romaine lettuce, pre-washed and spun very dry
1 lemon
1 clove garlic, grated or very finely minced
2 -3 T. extra virgin olive oil
1-2 T. anchovy paste (or 2 anchovy fillets)
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
ground pepper
2 T. of Hellman's lite mayo (or a raw or coddled egg)
Toasted extra dry croutons or crudites toast points
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Make the dressing in the bottom of your large salad bowl, by squeezing in the juice of the lemon (remove pits), add the grated garlic, the 2 T. of olive oil, the dash of Worcestershire sauce, the big squiggle of anchovy paste, the ground pepper, and use a small whisk to bring it all together.
Then add 2T. of light mayo and make a creamy dressing.  Add the mayo after emulsifying the oil and lemon juice or the lemon juice will react with the mayo and make it harder to create a creamy dressing.  It should be thick, but still thin enough to coast the lettuces once you add them.  If too thick, add a little more olive oil.

Cut off the bottom inch or more.  Slice the Romaine lettuce across the grain, and fill up the bowl.  The more traditional way would be to leave the leaves whole, but use only the inner leaves of 5 inches or less.
Toast the "croutons", then let them cool a little.  More traditional croutons would be cubed bread, with butter and garlic, toasted on a tray in the oven.  But they are too greasy and garlicky for me.  I prefer the crunch of the dried toast by itself.
Break the toast into bite-size bits. Scatter the Parmesan across the top.  Be generous with the Parmesan.

Chicken or shrimp can be added.

Toss at the table and serve immediately.

Sauteed Shrimp for Caesar Salad
6 large shrimp per person
old bay seasoning
olive oil for sauteing

To make the shrimp:

Buy the best shrimp you can afford --- I prefer wild caught gulf shrimp if you can find them --- ours come frozen.
Place them on a paper towel and sprinkle heavily with old bay seasoning, and cayenne pepper --- do both sides --- and place them in the fridge to defrost.  You will lose lots of the seasoning when you peel them, but it does help to coat them while they defrost.
Peel (takes longer than you think) and then lightly salt them.  Add more cayenne if you wish, as I do.

Heat up your pan, add olive oil, then place each shrimp in the pan carefully.  Let them cook until the edges start to turn pink -- about a minute or two. Don't be tempted to move them around or they will stick, as mine did.

Turn them over and finish cooking --- another minute or two. I deglazed my pan and save the drippings for future use because my shrimp stuck.

Or use can use a non-stick pan!


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