Caesar Salad French Laundry
photo by Glenda in Calabasas
- Ready In:
ANCHOVY DRESSING (makes 2 cups)
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons chopped shallots
- 1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 salt-packed anchovy fillets, deboned and soaked in milk,rinsed and drained (I used anchovy paste in the tube)
- 1 large egg yolk (I omitted and it emulsified wonderfully)
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup canola oil
- white pepper
- 2⁄3 cup heavy cream
- 2⁄3 cup milk
- 3 1⁄2 ounces parmigiano-reggiano cheese, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- kosher salt
- white pepper
- 3 cups chiffonade romaine lettuce (long narrow strips, cut from the heart or small inner leaves)
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
- fresh ground black pepper
- 12 croutons, from a baguette about 1/4 inches thick,toasted lightly
- parmigiano-reggiano cheese, shavings for garnish (made with a vegetable peeler--should be VERY thin)
FOR THE GLAZE
- 2 cups balsamic vinegar
- 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.
FOR THE DRESSING:
- 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.
FOR THE CUSTARDS:
- 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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