Caesar Salad French Laundry

READY IN: 4hrs
YIELD: 12 salads




  • Heat the vinegar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until steam rises from the liquid.
  • Place the saucepan on a heat diffuser and let the liquid reduce very slowly (it should not simmer!) for 2 or 3 hours until it has reduced and thickened to a syrupy glaze.
  • There should be about 1/2 cup of finished glaze.
  • Keep the glaze in a squeeze bottle.
  • If the glaze is too thick, warm the bottle with hot water to loosen it.
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (from a moist piece of cheese) (note: I used a little more) to make 12 one inch parmesan crisps (or about the size of the mold you are using): Preheat the oven to 325F.
  • Line a baking sheet with Silpat (I used easy release foil).
  • sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of the cheese in one corner of the pan.
  • Use your fingers to spread the cheese into a 2 inch circle, repeat with the remaining cheese until you have 12 rounds.
  • Bake for 8- 10 minutes or until they are golden brown.
  • Use a small spatula to transfer them to paper towels.
  • (They break VERY easily--I used the pieces if they crumbled).
  • They will be soft when they are removed but will stiffen as they cool.
  • Store in airtight container for up to 2 days.
  • Puree the garlic, shallots, vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, and anchovies in a blender until smooth.
  • Transfer to a mixer with the paddle attachment and beat in the egg yolk.
  • With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the oils.
  • Season with white pepper.
  • Cover and refrigerate.
  • There will be more dressing than you need for this recipe, but the extra can be stored refrigerator for 3 days.
  • Place the cream, milk and parmesan chunks in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  • Turn off the heat, cover the pan and let the flavors infuse for 45 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  • Whisk the eggs and yolk together in a medium bowl.
  • Reheat the cream mixture until it is hot.
  • While whisking, gradually strain the cream and milk on the eggs to temper them.
  • Season with salt and white pepper.
  • Ladle 2 tablespoons of the custard mixture into 2 ounce aluminum molds, timbale molds or any other small molds.
  • (Note: I placed foil cutouts in the bottom of each mold to facilitate unmolding).
  • Place molds in a roasting pan and add hot water to come about halfway up the sides of the molds.
  • If you are using foil cups and they float, place a baking sheet or pan over them to hold them down.
  • cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes or until the custards are just set.
  • The edges should look set, but the very centers may not be.
  • Remove the molds from the water bath and refrigerate the custards for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
  • (Note: it is okay if they tear or split as they are unmolded--just push them together on the crouton).
  • Toss the romaine strips with grated parmesan and just enough dressing to lightly coat the lettuce.
  • Season with pepper to taste.
  • Place a spoonful of dressing on each plate.
  • Run a small paring knife around the edge of each custard, dip the molds briefly in hot water and unmold each custard onto a crouton.
  • Center one crouton in each pool of dressing.
  • Lay a Parmesan crisp over each custard and top with a stack of the salad.
  • Place shavings of cheese over the romaine and garnish each plate with a ring or small pool of the balsamic glaze.