Three chefs offer their own versions of Caesar salad

October 20, 1991|By Knight-Ridder News Service

The following are three versions of Caesar salad from three great chefs, Julia Child, Bradley Ogden and Marion Cunningham. Ms. Cunningham's recipe was adapted from an article written for the Los Angeles Times.

Julia's Caesar

Serves four to six.

From "From Julia Child's Kitchen" (Alfred A. Knopf).

2 large, crisp heads romaine lettuce

2 large cloves garlic

salt

olive oil

2 cups unseasoned, homemade croutons (see below)

2 eggs

freshly ground black pepper

juice of 1 lemon

Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

For each person, select 6 to 8 whole, unblemished leaves of romaine, each 3 to 7 inches long. Wash, drain in a colander to remove excess moisture, wrap in paper or clean tea towels and refrigerate until serving.

Put garlic through a press and mix with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 3 tablespoons oil. Strain into a medium frying pan. Heat oil to warm, add croutons, toss until well coated and remove to a bowl. Coddle eggs by boiling 1 minute.

To assemble salad, have all ingredients in small bowls surrounding a large salad bowl. Put romaine into bowl and pour 4 tablespoons olive oil over. Toss and scoop forward with serving fork and spoon. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, 8 grinds of pepper, 2 more tablespoons oil, and toss again. Add lemon juice, 6 drops of Worcestershire and the eggs, toss. Add cheese, toss. Add croutons, toss twice more.

To serve, arrange leaves on plates, stems facing outward, with a sprinkling of croutons at the side. Eat with fingers or with forks and knives.

Croutons

Makes about 4 1/2 cups.

1 baguette of French bread

1/4 cup oil

Cut bread lengthwise in quarters. Then cut crosswise into cubes 3/4 -inch wide. Toss in oil and put on a baking pan or cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees 20 to 25 minutes, tossing a few times to brown evenly. Just before croutons are done, turn off the oven and let sit 15 minutes before removing.

Bradley's Caesar

Serves four.

2 heads romaine

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon capers, rinsed and minced

6 anchovy fillets, mashed with a fork

2 egg yolks

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup olive oil Parmesan croutons (recipe below)

1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

Remove any blemished leaves of romaine. Tear leaves into 2-inch pieces. Wash, dry and refrigerate. Blend garlic, capers and anchovies in a food processor. Add yolks, mustard, lemon juice, salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. With machine on (or by blending with a whisk in a mixing bowl) slowly add oil as if making mayonnaise. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Place romaine in a large bowl with remaining black pepper. Pour dressing down sides, lifting lettuce up and over to coat evenly. Add croutons and toss. Put on plates and top with shaved Parmesan.

Parmesan croutons

Makes 2 cups.

6 small cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter

2 cups French bread, cut into 3/4 -inch cubes

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350. Combine garlic and butter in a saucepan. Put RTC over moderate heat until butter has completely melted and is bubbling but not brown. Remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes. Strain butter, discarding garlic.

Toss bread and butter together, coating evenly. Place cubes on a sheet pan and bake 15 minutes or until deep golden brown. Stir 2 or 3 times while baking. Put croutons in a bowl and toss

with cheese.

Marion's Caesar

Serves four to six.

2 heads romaine lettuce

Caesar dressing (recipe below)

2 cups homemade croutons

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Remove blemished leaves of romaine, wash, dry and tear into bite-size pieces. Place in a serving bowl. Add just enough dressing to coat and glisten each piece. Gently toss with hands. Add croutons and sprinkle with Parmesan. Toss.

Caesar dressing

1/2 cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons lemon juice

4 anchovy fillets

1 egg yolk (optional)

salt and pepper

Combine olive oil and garlic in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add lemon juice, anchovies and egg yolk, if desired, and blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust for seasonings.

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