Last winter, I took the most amazing cooking class at Chef’s Gallery in Stillwater, Mn.  It was a 5 day intensive, hands on class.  Everyday we started at 9am and chef Marge would demonstrate skills that we needed for that day and then would walk us through the meal that we were going to prepare.  Then we would get to work and prepare a four-course meal for lunch.  It was a serious cook’s dream come true!

The food we made was absolutely amazing.  We learned a lot of classic cooking techniques and made several different soups, including French onion.  We made several classic sauces including buerre blanc (which is to die for!) and aioli.  We learned how to make fresh pasta, coq au vin, chocolate mousse, lemon curd and the list could go on!

The recipe I want to share with you today from my class is for Classic Caesar Salad.  As far as the history of Caesar Salad, the story goes that it was created at a restaurant in Tijuana by an Italian named Caesar Cardini in 1924.  It is said that he was running out of food and came up with this recipe with things he had on hand and prepared it tableside.  Whether the story is completely true or not, Caesar salad is still delicious!

The classic preparation of Caesar salad includes raw egg yolks and anchovies.  Do not fear either one of these.  If you’re nervous about raw eggs you can always use pasturized eggs.  If anchovies are a little scary for you, don’t fear them.  They really add a nice flavor in the background, not at all fishy.  I use anchovy paste and I don’t use very much, just enough to get that extra little somethin’ somethin’ in the background.

Classic Caesar Salad
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, torn into bite size pieces or 2 bags of pre-cut romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 of a French baguette
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 egg yolks from large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Start out by making the croutons.  Cut the bread into 1 inch cubes.  Heat 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add bread cubes to the pan and toss to coat with the oil.  Continue cooking until crispy and brown, tossing frequently.
Once bread is crispy, drain on paper towels until ready to use.  One tip, if you make these in advance and store them in a plastic bag, they may lose their crispiness.  If that happens put them on a cookie sheet and re-crisp them in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes.
Put the garlic cloves in a small bowl (not metal) and mash the cloves against the side of the bowl with a wooden spoon until they are broken up.

Remove galic from the bowl and discard.  Add anchovy paste and stir with wooden spoon.

Add the dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, pepper and egg yolks.  Combine well.

Slowly whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil until mixture is emulsified.

Place lettuce in a salad bowl, pour dressing over the top, sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and the salt and toss well.  Top with croutons.

ENJOY!

Shared at Mandy’s Recipe Box on 11/15/11

Shared at Family Fresh Meals on 4/15/12.

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