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Caesar Salad with soft boiled eggs

Caesar Salad with soft boiled eggs

Origin: Caesar salad is what it is and all kudos to its creator the late Chef Caesar Cardini, who created this wonderful salad in 1924 to impress his famous Hollywood friends. The pic shows this salad combined with Crispy Cornflake and Couscous Chicken Strips.

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The timeless Caesar Salad still has the same basic ingredients of Romaine lettuce (or Cos as we know it) olive oil, crushed garlic, salt and pepper, wine vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, raw or coddled eggs, parmesan cheese and crispy croutons. No anchovies by the way as Caesar did not like the overpowering fishy flavor.

Cardini’s party trick was to serve and build the salad, at the table, in front of his guests which added an element of theatre to the dining, and even more intriguing was the garlic clove act which he rubbed vigorously onto the wooden serving bowl, before the salad was assembled.

 The leaves were left whole, and being robust as they are, the intention was for the guests to share the bowl of salad, eating it by scooping up a leaf which was adorned with little bits of everything. Caesar started the show by first tossing the leaves in each of the dressing ingredients. First the olive oil and ending in the slightly whisked nearly raw coddled eggs. Try this at your next dinner party. It is sure to get a few oooh’s and aaahh’s.

This is my version of what I can hardly claim as my salad as all I have done is add a few not so secret ingredients and simplified the presentation.

Caesar Salad with soft boiled eggs  (serves 6 – 8 )

2 Romaine (Cos) Lettuce washed and broken up

250 g streaky bacon chopped finely and cooked until crispy

3 slices of thick stale French or any other day old bread

5 ml crushed garlic

3 tablespoons butter

120 g or one punnet of fresh fava beans (broad beans) or petits pois (baby garden peas)

120 g of baby asparagus tips

4 eggs (room temperature before boiling)

1 avocado (optional)

Shaved parmesan cheese

 Tip: To stop the Avo going brown, leave the pip in the middle of the salad platter until you are about to serve then whip it out! (Don’t forget though as you will look like a real ‘nana if you leave the pip it in) I thought this was an old wives tale, but it does work! Thanks to my foodie friend Tracey for that valuable bit of info.

To make the Caesar Salad Dressing:

2 Tablespoons of White Wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons of mustard

2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce

2 cloves of garlic

1 egg yolk

1 cup of olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

Method:

  1.  Using an electric beater, or a blender, blend all the ingredients except the olive oil and the lemon juice.
  2. Continue to blend while dripping the olive oil into the mixture in a slow steady stream.
  3. Once all the oil has been added, slowly drip in the juice of the lemon.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until you need it.

The Perfect Soft Boiled Egg. (Timing for large eggs weighing about 60 g each)

  1. Eggs should be at room temperature or they will crack and leak out during boiling.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add your eggs to the vigorously boiling water. Set your timer and let the eggs boil for exactly 5 minutes.
  3. Immediately remove from the boiling water, and rinse in cold water.
  4. Peel and set aside only to be cut open as you are serving the salad.

To make the croutons:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 oC.
  2. Melt the 3 Tbsp butter and 5ml garlic in a pan and toss the cubed bread into melted butter. If you wish at this stage you can add a sprinkling of dried or fresh herbs to the pan. (origanum, thyme, mixed herbs)
  3. Turn onto a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. 

Assembly of the Salad:

Simply lay the Cos lettuce on the plate and layer it with the bacon, broad beans or peas, asparagus, croutons, slices of avo and shavings of parmesan cheese.

Lastly, slice the cooled boiled eggs in half quickly and separate into two pieces making sure you catch a little soft yolk in each half. Dot the halves in various positions on the salad

Drizzle with your creamy homemade dressing and serve immediately.

(I like to sometimes serve this with Crispy Cornflake and Couscous Chicken Strips as a lunch time meal. If I do this I omit the croutons.)

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