A Summer Supper Special
Today’s post for Updating a Classic! Bacon and Egg Caesar Salad, is all about speed and a plethora of eggs! It was a hot late spring day, just a few weeks ago – I’d been writing some commissioned work since about 6am in the morning, and I could sense that it was time for lunch, mainly due the sound of my husband pacing around the kitchen, opening the bread bin, noisily, and rustling loudly in the fridge! I always turn to eggs on these occasions, along with fresh fish, they are the original fast food, and as we keep chickens at the bottom of our garden, we always have a supply of beautiful, golden yolked free-range eggs, courtesy of Hattie, Betty, Peggy and Maisie. In fact, the day that I assembled this salad, I counted nearly three dozen eggs in the pantry – time to get my baking head on too!
I had eggs, I had a lovely Cos (Romaine) lettuce and on searching the fridge, I discovered some dry-cured streaky bacon, and a big chunk of Grana Padano cheese too. All of the ingredients seemed to scream salad, but what kind of salad? I think it was the lettuce that “did it” – a crisp and slightly bitter Cos lettuce is the classic leaf in a Caesar salad, and on further rummaging around at the back of the fridge, I discovered some tinned anchovies, which are essential in a Caesar salad dressing. Today’s recipe for Bacon and Egg Caesar Salad is really just an idea, a suggestion or a culinary note, it’s an assembly job using beautiful locally produced ingredients, and with a rather clever cheat’s dressing idea! The dressing has all the classic ingredients, but is made in a trice using mayonnaise…..which, works very well.
I’m a big fan of mayo, and especially Dijon mustard mayonnaise, which worked well in the Caesar dressing. And, being a keeper of hens, or a chicken mother as I often call myself, it’s essential to have a big pot of mayo to hand, if only for dressing freshly boiled eggs, or for an egg salad! The Bacon and Egg Caesar Salad was duly made and we both enjoyed it so much, that it made an appearance on the luncheon table a few days later, in an attempt to crack on using all the eggs! (Pardon the awful puns!) You can use a reputable commercial mayo, of course, one that uses free range eggs, but I do have a FAB recipe on the site for a fool-proof mayonnaise that was given to me by my French neighbour many years ago, here: A Secret Recipe Revealed! Michelle’s French Mayonnaise in a Flash.
So, today’s recipe suggestion for a summer supper special, is easy to make and would also be perfect for any dinner party entrée too. Make the dressing just before you serve the salad, but the eggs and bacon, and the croutons if you are making them, can be done a few hours beforehand. Make sure you shave the cheese, and DON’T grate it for the final flourish, and I prefer, but I realise that this is personal, Grano Padano cheese over Parmesan cheese. DO try to use free range eggs – just look at how lovely and golden the yolks are in my hen’s eggs in the photos, and, I do advise using dry-cure bacon too, it doesn’t shrivel up into nothing as wet cure bacon often does. Smoked bacon is always my preferred choice, but again, go with what you and your family prefer. Enjoy this salad if you make it, and I’ll be back soon with some traveller’s tales! Karen
Caesar Salad – History and Recipe:
A Caesar salad is a salad of romaine lettuce and croutons dressed with Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and black pepper. It is traditionally prepared table-side.
The salad’s creation is generally attributed to restaurateur Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who operated restaurants in Mexico and the United States. Cardini was living in San Diego but also working in Tijuana where he avoided the restrictions of Prohibition. His daughter Rosa (1928–2003) recounted that her father invented the dish when a Fourth of July 1924 rush depleted the kitchen’s supplies. Cardini made do with what he had, adding the dramatic flair of the table-side tossing “by the chef.” A number of Cardini’s staff have said that they invented the dish.
According to Rosa Cardini, the original Caesar salad (unlike his brother Alex’s Aviator’s salad) did not contain pieces of anchovy; the slight anchovy flavor comes from the Worcestershire sauce. Cardini was opposed to using anchovies in his salad.
In the 1970s, Cardini’s daughter said that the original recipe included whole lettuce leaves, which were meant to be lifted by the stem and eaten with the fingers; coddled eggs; and Italian olive oil.