by Laurent Tourondel and Michele Scicolone
from Bistro Laurent Tourondel: New American Bistro Cooking
(John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007)
This salad is my interpretation of a steakhouse classic. The original Caesar salad was created in 1924 by Caesar Cardini, an Italian, at his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, and was made with romaine lettuce. My version uses full-flavored tender spinach leaves and slightly bitter radicchio instead and includes bacon. I think bacon makes everything taste better.—Laurent Tourondel and Michele Scicolone
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white vinegar
For the croutons
1/2 loaf country bread, crusts removed (about 12 ounces)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
1 garlic clove, minced
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the caesar dressing
6 salted anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the salad
1 1/2 pounds baby spinach, washed, trimmed, and well-dried
1 medium head radicchio, washed, trimmed, and well dried
10 slices (about 1/2 pound) cooked double-smoked bacon, crumbled
1 1/2 cups
(12 ounces) crumbled blue cheese, such as Point Reyes Original Blue
1. Place the eggs in a medium saucepan with salted water to cover. Add the vinegar. (Adding vinegar to the water as the eggs cook helps the egg whites to set better.) Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 4 minutes.
2. Remove 2 of the eggs and cool them in a bowl of ice water. They will be lightly cooked. These are for the dressing.
3. Cook the remaining 2 eggs 8 minutes longer, or until they are hard cooked. Drain and cool to room temperature under running water. Peel the hard-cooked eggs and separate the yolks and the whites. Pass the whites and yolks separately through a sieve.
Make the croutons
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
2. Cut the bread into 1/2-inch cubes. You should have about 2 cups.
3. Toss the bread with the Parmigiano-Reggiano, olive oil, paprika, garlic, and salt and pepper. Spread the bread cubes in a large pan. Bake, stirring once or twice, 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool.
Make the Caesar dressing
1. Crack the soft-cooked eggs and scoop them into a food processor or blender. Add the anchovies, mustard, and garlic. Process or blend until smooth. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a thin stream. Blend in the cheese and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. You should have about 2 cups dressing.
Make the salad
1. Toss the spinach and radicchio with enough dressing to evenly coat the leaves.
2. Divide the salad among 6 plates. Scatter the croutons and crumbled bacon on top. Sprinkle with the cheese and the sieved eggs.
Recipe © 2008 by Laurent Tourondel. All rights reserved.