Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hail Caesar!!!

I've really enjoyed my venture into blogging so far. I constantly find my self stumbling across new sites with mouth watering pictures and great ideas. I always think; "oh, that sounds great," or "I haven't made that in a long time." The vast array of food blogs have essentially created the world's largest cookbook via the Internet. With Summer weather heating up the Portland area lately, I've been thinking about cool refreshing meals. I came across Lydia's blog at The Perfect Pantry and her recipe for Caesar salad with shrimp. I knew right away that a Caesar salad was just what I needed for a quick delicious warm weather meal. Authentic Caesar dressing contains anchovies. I personally don't mind anchovies but I know many people turn away in disgust at the thought of these little salty fish. To omit anchovies in a Caesar salad would be a big mistake. They add a complex element to the dressing that gives it the perfect balance of flavors. I don't stock tins of anchovies in my pantry. On the rare occasion that I ever need them, I use a tiny bit and end up throwing the rest out. Lydia gave me the great idea to purchase a tube of anchovy paste. You can use just a little bit and then store the rest in the refrigerator for a long time until it is needed again. I'm not a squeamish person, I won't regale you with stories from years as an emergency medical care provider to prove it. But trust me, I've seen some unpleasant things. I have to admit that squeezing pureed salty fish goo from a toothpaste tube into something I'm about to eat is not very appealing. However, I know this is necessary to achieve a great tasting Caesar dressing. So squeeze away.

The biggest element missing from any gluten free Caesar salad is croutons. I took two slices of gluten free sandwich bread and cubed them. We use Whole Foods white sandwich bread. I lightly coated the cubes with olive oil, salt, pepper, sage, and thyme. I would have used garlic also but I forgot. I toasted them on a baking sheet in a 300 degree F oven for about 10 minutes. I turned them over and baked for about 5-10 minutes more until they were very crunchy.

Caesar Dressing:
From The Perfect Pantry
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp anchovy paste (mmm mmm good)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (Lea and Perrins is GF)
2 tsp lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
3 Tbs grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Pinch of pepper
Mix together in a small bowl and refrigerate at least 20 minutes before using. I sampled the dressing before mixing into the salad. The dressing had an intense flavor that I wasn't too sure about. Once it mixed in with the lettuce and other salad ingredients it was perfect. Who eats big spoonfuls of dressing anyway?

I used nearly a whole head of Romaine lettuce torn into bite size pieces. Add croutons, shaved Parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing. Add dressing a little at a time and toss. Taste the salad and stop adding dressing when you are happy with the flavors. I topped my salad with a grilled Herbs de Provence crusted chicken breast. A perfect meal to eat while sitting on the deck enjoying the great weather. Enjoy!!!


  1. Yes, Lydia is awesome and anchovy paste is so great to have around. It works well doesn't it? But I love real anchives too.

  2. Since my CSA deliveries started I've been eating a lot of salads. Caesar is one of my all time favorites and since I may have to start making most of my own dressings this is perfect.

  3. I'm so glad you tried this and that it worked for you! I'm not squeamish about anchovies (though I doubt I'd have the stomach to be an EMT or a firefighter, either), but the paste in a tube is so much easier.

  4. Are you sure about the Lea and Perrins worcestershire sauce? Here in Canada it is not gluten free. It is made with barley malt vinegar. I'm not sure why it would be different from the stuff you get in the US.

  5. I double checked the Lea & Perrins. My bottle here at home says "gluten free." It does not contain barley malt vinegar in the ingredients. If you follow the Lea & Perrins link in the recipe above, the L&P website states that the sauce is GF as well. I'm not sure why Canada would be any different.