Caesar Salad French Laundry

"This is really more of an appetizer composed of parmesan custards with parmesan crisps on a toasted slice of baguette, a few romaine leaves and 2 dressings. It is Thomas Keller's interpretation of Ceasar Salad. I love the layering of flavors and textures! Most components can be prepared in advance and the dish composed at the last minute."
photo by Glenda in Calabasas photo by Glenda in Calabasas
photo by Glenda in Calabasas
Ready In:
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.

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