Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Recipe: Caesar Salad with Homemade Dressing

Caesar SaladCaesar salad is by far one of the most popular salads in North America and Caesar salad was the first salad I ever ate (this is big because I did not eat salad until I was about 20, I was a little picky when I was younger). Obviously once I tried Caesar salad it quickly became not only My favorite salad but one of my favorite things to eat. The recipe for the Caesar dressing is an variation of one that my mom has been using since the seventies and pre-dates raweggaphobia. With a chicken breast or, even better, a steak this Caesar salad will certainly satisfy!

The Recipe: Caesar Salad

The recipe below is for one salad for 4 people, however the dressing will make enough for two Caesar salads this size and will keep in the fridge for a couple days.
1 egg yolk (although the risk of salmonella is very low, 1 in 30000, you can almost eliminate this risk by using organic free range eggs)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
dash of hot sauce
Pinch of mustard powder
1 tbsp honey
1 clove of garlic finely minced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 romaine hearts (I like to chop my hearts with a chef's knife before washing and while still in tact, I do this by chopping twice on the vertical and then slicing horizontally into about 3/4 inch squares, thus saving some work and making it easy to eat)
6 pieces of bacon cooked and chopped
1/4 cup of Parmesan
4 slices of french loaf cut into cubes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
pinch of sea salt

You can make the Caesar salad dressing several ways depending on how thick you like it. For a really thick Caesar dressing use a food processor, for a medium thickness use a bowl and a whisk (this is my preferred method) and for a more oily (less like mayonnaise) use a jar. Each method to make the Caesar dressing is the same with regards to when you add the ingredients. To start add the egg, lemon juice, mustard powder, sea salt, pepper, hot sauce, honey, Worcestershire and garlic to a bowl and whisk until uniform. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking until the dressing is very thick. Slowly whisk in the apple cider vinegar, the colour should start to turn towards white and the dressing will become more liquid. The Caesar salad dressing is complete!

To build the salad, start by making the croutons. In a casserole dish combine all the ingredients and stir until the bread cubes are coated. In a 400 degree oven cook the croutons until they start to crisp, remove, let cool and try not to eat too many before making the salad.

In a large bowl (the bigger the bowl the easier it is to toss and the better the dressing will coat the lettuce), add the washed and well dried romaine hearts. Add about 1/4 of the dressing and toss well, you will probably need to add more dressing, but you do not want the dressing to pool on the bottom, so do not add to much to start. Add about half the bacon and croutons and toss again. Add the remaining croutons to the top of the salad followed by the bacon and the Parmesan. Enjoy!
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Potato Hash Stuffed with Cheese, Bacon, Tomatoes and Parsley

Potato Hash Stuffed with Cheese, Bacon, Tomatoes & ParsleyNormally breakfast on the weekends consists of a couple over easy eggs, bacon and toast but when you are feeling like a an little treat to accompany your eggs this stuffed potato hash definitely hits the spot. Nothing goes better with potatoes than cheese, but the problem is that cheese does not like frying pans! Thus by stuffing the hash with cheese, bacon, parsley, and tomatoes you get an even nicer treat without burning the cheese!

The Recipe: Potato Hash Stuffed with Bacon, Cheese, Herbs and Tomatoes
This recipe will make 2-4 servings depending on how hungry your family is (I wanted to keep it all for myself:))
4 medium potatoes peeled
1 diced shallot
1 clove of garlic minced
1 tomato diced
4 pieces of cooked bacon chopped into pieces about 1/2 long
1/3 cup of shredded old cheddar
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp plus 2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil

Preparing the potato hash stuffingStart by boiling your potatoes until they are fork tender, but not falling apart when you stick your fork in (about 20 minutes depending on the size and type of potato). While they are boiling, saute your shallots and garlic for about 5 minutes with one tbsp of butter and set aside. Combine bacon, cheese, parsley and tomatoes evenly in a bowl. Once the potatoes are ready rinse them under cold water and using a cheese grater, grate the potatoes. Careful you do not burn your fingers in the process, you may need to run them under cold water a couple of times before you able to finish grating. If you do not mind the extra dishes, most food processors come with an attachment for grating.

Combine the sea salt, pepper, shallots, garlic and potatoes in a bowl and lightly stir them together. Heat a 6 inch skillet to med-high heat and add 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add 1/2 of the potato mixture so that the bottom of the pan is evenly covered. Add the entire mixture of the bacon, cheese and tomatoes on top of this layer, then add the remaining potato mixture on top ensuring that the stuffing is evenly covered. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, giving the bottom a chance to get golden brown without burning, give the pan a giggle every once in a while to try and ensure nothing sticks. Potato Hash in the SkilletNow for the tricky part, you need to flip the entire contents of the skillet without breaking it up. For this you will need a flat surface bigger than the skillet. Place your flat surface (I used an upside down 8-inch pie pan) on top of the skillet and flip the hash onto the flat surface (you may need to tap the bottom of the pan to loosen any bits that have stuck. Return the empty skillet to the oven top and add the remaining butter and oil. Carefully slide the hash off your flat surface and back into the skillet and continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes until the bottom is a beautiful golden brown. Carefully remove the stuffed potato hash from the skillet and enjoy!
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