Julia's Caesar Salad
- 18 to 24 crisp, narrow leaves from the hearts of 2 heads of romaine lettuce, or a package of romaine hearts (about 1
- 1 cup plain toasted croutons
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled,
- 1/4 cup or more excellent olive oil
- 1 large egg
- black pepper, Freshly ground
- 1 whole lemon, halved and seeded
- Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, freshly grated, imported Parmigiano-Reggiano only
- Special equipment: A large mixing bowl; a small frying pan
DirectionsYou will probably need 2 large heads of romaine for 3 people or use a commercially prepared package of "romaine hearts," if they appear fresh and fine.
From a large head remove the outside leaves until you get down to the cone where the leaves are 4 to 7 inches in length you'll want 6 to 8 of these leaves per serving.
Separate the leaves and wash them carefully to keep them whole, roll them loosely in clean towels, and keep refrigerated until serving time.
(Save the remains for other salads fortunately, romaine keeps reasonably well under refrigeration.
To flavor the croutons, crush the garlic clove with the flat of a chef's knife, sprinkle on 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and mince well.
Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil on the garlic and mash again with the knife, rubbing and pressing to make a soft puree.
Scrape the puree into the frying pan, add another tablespoon of oil, and warm over low-medium heat.
Add the croutons and toss for a minute or two to infuse them with the garlic oil, then remove from the heat.
(For a milder garlic flavor, you can strain the puree though a small sieve into a pan before adding the extra croutons.
Discard the bits of garlic.
) To coddle the egg, bring a small saucepan of water to a simmer.
Pierce the large end of the egg with a pushpin to prevent cracking, then simmer for exactly 1 minute.
Dress the salad just before serving.
Have ready all the dressing ingredients and a salad fork and spoon for tossing.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the romaine leaves and toss to coat, lifting the leaves from the bottom and turning them towards you, so they tumble over like a wave.
Sprinkle them with a generous pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper, toss once or twice, then add the lemon juice and several drops of the Worcestershire, and toss again.
Taste for seasoning, and add more, if needed.
Crack the egg and drop it right on the romaine leaves, then toss to break it up and coat the leaves.
Sprinkle on the cheese, toss briefly, then add the croutons (and the garlicky bits in the pan, if you wish) and toss for the last time, just to mix them into the salad.
Arrange 6 or more leaves in a single layer on individual plates, scatter the croutons all around, and serve.