This meant it needed to be:
A meal in a bowl
I did a bit of thinking about my experience with Caesar Salad ~ not much! I had heard of it when I was young, and knew that it involved raw egg dressing the leaves! Something I feared and loathed! Eventually I saw a recipe where the egg was poached and thought Yes! I could try that!
But never did.
A friend spent time in Canada and said every family had their version there, like many Australians have their version of coleslaw. So that made me notice the variations in the recipes I saw.
But I still hadn't tried one, let alone made one.
I also thought about need for the egg to be cooked to avoid risks associated with raw eggs. This may have been how the egg came out of the salad and was put on top in the first place!
Next was research: I got good help from the folk at the Jamie Oliver Forums, and I had a great trawl through Google.
What I loved finding out about the original Caesar Salad was that the great treat was the dressing he mixed up with a flourish at the table, and how the crisp Romaine (Cos) lettuce leaves that were dressed and topped with croutons were pulled out dripping and eaten with delight. (No anchovies, no bacon, no poached egg, no chicken, no tuna).
But this was a side salad, and a wicked special treat. 'Sometimes' food, not 'Everyday' food.
I kept in mind the lovely thought of the crisp lettuce leaves dripping with the delicious creamy dressing, and went back to Brian's Caesar Salad that was made with dressed cos lettuce leaves, and croutons, bacon and egg. I wanted to bake the croutons, and poach the egg. I had thought of a vinaigrette dressing, since the egg is not in the salad, but on top instead ~ but what about the creamy original?
Gradually I began to consider a creamy yoghurt based dressing. I know these can be exquisitely delicious, and I could just imagine pulling the leaves out dripping! I went over in my mind what additions: mustard and worcestershire sauce surely, as they were in the original, garlic, maybe a little maple syrup for sweetness? (Eek No! said my friend Lin).
After a lot of thinking I googled 'Yoghurt Caesar Dressing' and lo and behold I came up with this: http://savorlingerenjoy.blogspot.com/2007/04/lemon-yogurt-ceasar-dressing.html It even has the maple syrup in it! (Lin!).
Off I went shopping and bought the ingredients I needed, then home and time to begin.
I made the croutons as Koukouvagia suggested on the Jamie Oliver Forum, I made the dressing from the blog, I poached the egg, cooked the bacon and prepared the Cos leaves and the herbs.
Because the dressing was so wonderful and full of flavour, the croutons probably didn't need to be dressed with herbs and garlic, but I will leave them in for my recipe (because they are THE best croutons). The poached egg worked well (it has been years since I poached an egg, I won't wait so long again!), the bacon was great. The dressing did slide off the leaves a bit, but that meant I got to dip them in the dressing at the bottom of the bowl, and that was SO YUMMY!
This was a wonderful meal in a bowl! A real treat, and it would be such a lovely dish for a YamDaisy Cafe!
Joy's Version of Andrea's Suggestion of Brian's Version of Caesar Salad for the YamDaisy Cafe!
Cut good bread (mine was day old home made bread) into cubes, no crusts
In a bowl mix a little extra version olive oil, mix in a minced garlic clove, a little dried oregano, finely chopped chive and season with salt and pepper.
Mix the breadcubes in the oil until they are just moistened.
Tip them onto a tray and bake 5 - 10 minutes in a warm oven.
They are very yummy, but don't eat them yet!
Lemon Yoghurt Caesar Dressing
In a non reactive bowl place the following ingredients:
The juice and zest of half a lemon
1 tsp of Tabasco or other chilli sauce (optional)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 tsp salt
Plenty of fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 a granny smith apple finely grated
1/4 cup Greek yoghurt
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp rice vinegar
Mix until really well combined.
Have a little taste, it should be magnificent!
Bring a pan of water to a simmer. The pan should be low and wide so it is easy to get the eggs in and out. The water should be an inch deep (nearly 3 cm) so the eggs are submerged.Add a little milk and bring it to a simmer again.
Add the most wonderful, fresh egg(s) you can get. place gently in the water and keep it at a bare simmer for about three minutes, maybe three and a half. (My three minute one had a just runny yolk which was perfect).
Lift out and drain it on a paper towel.
Cut a nice rasher of bacon into pieces (mine were nearly 1cm x 2 cm) and put them into a cold frypan. Put it on the heat so it warms up gently and the fat from the bacon cooks them just how you like them! Set them aside.
Cos Lettuce and Herbs
Cos is what we call Romaine lettuce. Get out the lovely fresh smaller leaves from the middle!
Fresh parsley and chopped spring onion.
Putting it all together!
Put the leaves into the dressing and toss them around and then place them on the plate.
Top with the bacon, egg, croutons and herbs in whatever configuration you fancy!
Add another blob of dressing to set it all off.
Sit down and enjoy!