caesar salad

I'm not sure how many of you guys have ever seen the movie Forget Paris. It's a Billy Crystal movie where he has to pick up his dead father's body in Paris and ends up meeting Debra Winger at the airport. They marry, he's always gone refereeing basketball games, lots of miscommunication, one harrowing 'piece of cake' trip to the fertility doctor involving a cup of sperm and a police escort. I always think of it as When Harry Met Sally 2. A very Billy Crystal 90's movie. Except not on a dude ranch.


There is an on going joke running throughout the film about how Billy's character, Mickey, always orders the same meal at any restaurant. I'm pretty sure it's the veal parmesan. At first, she thinks it's charming but after awhile, like all married couples, it begins to get on her nerves. It's something they fight about. I mean FIGHT about. Quite frankly she's a bit of a nag but I get it, if he's so unadventurous in the food department... good lord he must be a snooze in the sack. Right? Poor Debra Winger.

Okay so, let's cut to the end of the movie (because this is waaaay too long of a set up for a blog post). Debra Winger's character and Crystal's character are separated and lonely but realize they still love each other. They get back together and go meet their friends at a restaurant and the waiter asks Mickey, 'what'll you have?' Mickey looks up from his menu says with the camera panning on all the characters who are holding their breath...

'veal [long pause] piccata.'

The camera pans to everyone around the table and everyone breathes a sigh of relief and laughs.

:::end movie:::

Really, they end on that.

Well, Rich sometimes gets this way about Caesar Salad. Here's our Forget Paris.

We go out to eat.
He wants a salad.
I make a snarky snide comment about how he'll be disappointed, they are never great... soggy lettuce, plates aren't cold, salad had too much dressing, and do you remember the ONE TIME IT HAD KALAMATA OLIVES IN IT!!!! That's as bad as Miracle Whip on a burger.
Rich then gets mad at me.
I get mad at him for not listening to me.
The waitress refuses to come over to our table because it's reached THREAT LEVEL: RED at our table.
The salad is bad.
I won the argument but not the war.

I never learn because this happens at least once a year. But the good news is I have a great Caesar salad recipe to make at home to now stop this particular argument.

ceasar salad: salad as a meal by patricia wells

notes: I am very particular when it comes to salads. Let's just say I am very Thomas Keller like and leave it at that. After french toast being the first food I learned how to cook. I made salads, a lot of salads, like a salad a day for years. So I have some rules.

1. Chilled plates and bowls.

2. All lettuce must be torn into bite sized pieces. BITE SIZED. Not 'Shrek bite sized but still need to be cut with a knife' no. Bite sized for you and me.

3. No ribs of lettuce. NOOOOOO. No one wants to eat the tough white part of romaine lettuce. Throw that out. You aren't wasting it. It's the crap that people leave on their plate. It's nasty, it tastes funny. Don't even think about it.

4. Pour only a little dressing on the salad at first. Toss with your hands. Make sure the dressing coats the lettuce LIGHTLY. Here is the one time I think it's appropriate to say use a deft hand.

serves 4

1 head of romaine lettuce or if you can find it 6 heads of sucrine lettuce
1 plump garlic clove, peeled, halved, and green germ removed
caesar salad dressing
1/2 cup of freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (i used thin long slices of parm.)
3/4 of parmesan croutons

Wash greens well. Tear into bit sized pieces. Chill well.

At serving time, rub the inside of a large chilled salad bowl with the garlic halves. Discard garlic. Arrange chilled lettuce leaves in the bowl. Toss with enough dressing to lightly and evenly coat the greens. Add the cheese and croutons. Toss again with just enough dressing to coat all the ingredients lightly and evenly. Arrange on the plates and serve.

1 cup

note: this recipe contains raw egg. so use good judgement and if you have a compromised immune system go get bottled.

1 fresh large egg
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 plump, garlic cloves, peeled, halved, green germ removed, and minced
6 drops of worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup of mild flavored oil, such as grapeseed or safflower
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

In a blender, combine the egg, lemon juice, garlic, and worcestershire. Process to blend. With machine running, slowly add the oil, processing until mixture is emulsified. The dressing should be thinner than mayonnaise. Stir in the cheese. Season to taste. Serve immediately.


four 1/2 slices of sourdough bread
extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh, finely grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Center a rack in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the slices of bread into 1/2 inch cubes. Place cubes on baking sheet. Lightly coat cubes of bread with olive oil. Toss. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake cubes until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the bread cubes to a bowl and toss with the cheese, coating them lightly and evenly. Return bread cubes to the baking sheet and continue to bake until croutons are a deep, even brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.


Amy said...

Regarding your notes 1-4...could not agree more on all counts. High 5.

Kristin @ Going Country said...

Huh. I actually like the ribs of lettuce the best. Apparently, I am weird.

ali darling said...

kristin, i agree! my cousin & i make the best salad eating team at holidays because she only eats the leafy parts and i only eat the ribs. VIVA LA LETTUCE RIBS!

Pots and Pins said...

Hi Krysta! Long time no read! It's great t0 finally be able to catch up with all you've been doing...this morning I followed a link which led me to another and another and finally I went to Foodie with Family...and read her Bacon Jam post. OMGoSH! Bacon Jam!! I'm making it today - between the two of you I felt compelled to make this... and I know I'm going to love it!! Thanks! xo, Nan

Mrs. L said...

I so get all this...because Miracle Whip on a burger really IS bad! And put me on the side that lettuce ribs are not good in a salad either.

Anonymous said...

Clearly you are a skilled salad maker (fanatic) by step one. Bite sized pieces are a must. (I always warn young ladies never ever to order a salad for a main dish in the first few dates with a young man because some restaurants just don't get this rule and the results are not pretty.)

I think our husbands must be related. Mine loves to order Caesar salads at eating out then complains that they are not as good as the ones we make. And yes, he does this just about every time. I've learned to take it as a compliment.

Elena (Running in Heels After Child) said...

I am a rib lover as well.

We make a Caesar salad it is almost the same as yours but I add Dijon mustard, and no salt.

I am going to have to add it to the menu this week. It looks good.

Katie said...

I like the ribs too. =p
while i must agree that sometimes they do taste weird they are like lettuce croutons.

Jenn@slim-shoppin said...

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Vickie said...

I want to make this, but I think I'll look for free range organic chicken eggs first. I'm loving your level of detail in the salad. I, too, discard ribs and but my husband declared them to be his favorite part of a salad (because of their crunch). Now, I discard them into his salad plate and he can have the crunchiest salad at the table. bleh! The neurotic business of love . . . complicated isn't it? Terrific post!