Summer Salads – Classic Caesar

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,776
    Chefs Susan Watterson and Rob Carson demonstrate how to make a classic caesar salad.

    Rob Carson: Hi! once again, I am Rob Carson, I am a radio personality and I'd look to cook and today I am cooking with Susan Watterson from CulinAerie in downtown Washington DC. It is Summer Salad Madness and today we are going to do a Classic Caesar Salad. Now, a lot of people might be able a little intimated by the Caesar because you are using raw eggs, am I right?

    Susan Watterson: Well, you don't have to.

    Rob Carson: Okay.

    Susan Watterson: If the raw egg part bothers you, as it's a little contuitive but you can use an egg yolk size dollop of mayonnaise.

    Rob Carson: Okay, cool.

    Susan Watterson: So, you use that to prepare the emulsification, to make an emulsification but it works and that we don't have to worry and if you are making it for a group of people you don't know I would recommend that rather than use the yolk. Rob Carson: Okay, well let's talk about the ingredients we are going to need for our Caesar Salad.

    Susan Watterson: Okay, we have the egg yolk. I am going to make my with an egg yolk.

    Rob Carson: Okay.

    Susan Watterson: Fresh garlic, lemon juice, fresh lemon juice, not out of the plastic lemon.

    Rob Carson: Okay. We have got anchovies.

    Susan Watterson: Just a little.

    Rob Carson: Just a little.

    Susan Watterson: And oil, plain oil. I don't like Olive Oil in my Caesar dressing because it gets too strong. Rob Carson: Okay, so we are using Canola.

    Susan Watterson: Yeah.

    Rob Carson: Alright.

    Susan Watterson: Or Peanut or Corn or whatever.

    Rob Carson: Okay, now you mentioned croutons, making your croutons, how do we do that?

    Susan Watterson: It is easy and I think it is working in the end because these are croutons that actually add something to the salad and the ingredients are simple. You just need some white bread, I usually trim across the soft because I am a chef and you have to make everything look nice.

    Rob Carson: Okay.

    Susan Watterson: So, trim the --.

    Rob Carson: My daughter likes the same treatment of white bread.

    Susan Watterson: See, you make everybody happy. You can save those for fresh bread crumbs. Then cut cubes and then toss the cubes with oil, a little garlic if you like, some parmesan cheese and a little bit of salt and then just grade them on on a sheet pan, low oven like 275-300.

    Rob Carson: Okay, for how long?

    Susan Watterson: 10 minutes, check them after 10 minutes. Rob Carson: Till they get little brown.

    Susan Watterson: You will start to smell them.

    Rob Carson: Okay.

    Susan Watterson: When you start to smell them, take a spatula or just shake the pan around so that they turn over and then pop back back for like another three to five minutes. Rob Carson: Okay.

    Susan Watterson: When they are crunchy and light brown, they are ready.

    Rob Carson: Alright cool. Okay, let's make the Caesar dressing.

    Susan Watterson: Okay. So, we want to -- I am going to do this in the blender. It is much easier to do in a blender. We will just have a really quick little salad dressing, a bowl and a whist is fine, but Caesar is a little tricker because it got higher fat content so it is more likely to break. So, we'll do it in the blender, or if you have an immersion blender, you can do it that way, whatever is convenient.

    Rob Carson: Cool.

    Susan Watterson: So, I need my egg yolk.

    Rob Carson: Okay, one egg yolk.

    Susan Watterson: I am going to add the garlic. Don't have to do a really fine chop because the blender is going to do the work; another reason to use the blender. Rob Carson: Okay.

    Susan Watterson: Two big cloves, I would say.

    Rob Carson: Okay.

    Susan Watterson: Juice of half a lemon and then I will adjust if I need to. Every lemon has a different size. So I would start with the half and then taste it and if you need more, add more. Again, if it doesn't taste "right" it is probably not strong enough; a little more garlic, a little more lemon. Just enough anchovy that it gives it some savoriness, but not a fishy flavor.

    Rob Carson: Yes, exactly. Susan Watterson: So, I put in either one small or half a whole, half a whole of big one. Rob Carson: Okay.

    Susan Watterson: Alright, an old restaurant trick to avoid vinaigrette head, as we call it in the industry, piece of plastic with a small hole. Rob Carson: Okay.

    Susan Watterson: The hole in the blender top is too big and it comes out all over the place.

    Rob Carson: Okay.

    Susan Watterson: Okay, so we will get this going and then add the oil. Rob Carson: Just dribbling in the oil lightly.

    Susan Watterson: Yeah, have the blender going kind of pretty full tilt because as I said, it is a harder emulsion to achieve, more likely to break. Rob Carson: How much oil do you think you are going to use altogether?

    Susan Watterson: Probably half of the cup to three quarters of a cup, per egg yolk.

    Rob Carson: Okay. That is a good idea for being able to infuse the oil.

    Susan Watterson: It is helpful, yes. Let's add some parmesan now.

    Rob Carson: It is a nice parm, it's like about a table spoon, maybe a little more.

    Susan Watterson: Generous tablespoon.

    Rob Carson: Generous, okay.

    Susan Watterson: I like a lot of pepper in that. Rob Carson: Lots of pepper.

    Susan Watterson: Half tea spoon maybe.

    Rob Carson: Okay.

    Susan Watterson: A little pinch of salt because you have anchovy which is salty and you have parmesan which is salty.

    Rob Carson: Okay, cool.

    Susan Watterson: Add a little more oil.

    Rob Carson: Little more oil, good. Susan Watterson: You can have it a little faster once you have got thing. Alright that's probably, probably perfect. Rob Carson: Now again if you have leftover, how long could you keep this in your fridge?

    Susan Watterson: This one, if you are using egg yolk--.

    Rob Carson: Not as long.

    Susan Watterson: Not as long. Two days maybe and keep it cold because it does have the egg yolk in it and you want it out of the dangers on as much as possible.

    Rob Carson: Yeah, that's better. Can really taste the garlic.

    Susan Watterson: Nice. Rob Carson: Me like it. Susan Watterson: Me too. Okay so --Rob Carson: Well, let's put together our salad then.

    Susan Watterson: Well, and there is a reason that Caesar dressing is what it is. We put Caesar on Romaine Lettuce and Romaine Lettuce is a flatly lettuce unlike mesclun which is all curly that holds dressing. You need a thicker dressing because otherwise it would beat off the salad. So, there is a logic behind it.

    Rob Carson: Okay.

    Susan Watterson: So, I am going to toss this together.

    Rob Carson: And I would assume the amount of dressing you use is the amount you prefer.

    Susan Watterson: Exactly.

    Rob Carson: Okay.

    Susan Watterson: Always better to under-dress and pass dressing separately than over-dress.

    Rob Carson: Absolutely.

    Susan Watterson: And of course, the Caesar--.

    Rob Carson: The last thing you want to do is show up over-dressed.

    Susan Watterson: Yes.

    Rob Carson: Let's say it's like making a soup -- there we go. Susan Watterson: Add a little chicken or shrimp or steak or you can go South-Western and do corn, black beans.

    Rob Carson: Really corn or black beans?

    Susan Watterson: Corn or black beans, roasted with pepper, just lavish on the croutons and the parm. Rob Carson: There you go, that is a classic, classic.

    Susan Watterson: It's a thing of beauty.

    Rob Carson: Yeah, the Caesar Salad. Okay, so coming up next, we are going to try something I actually have never done before. It is called the Bread Salad.