Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ross Lake Recipe - Caesar Salad

© Paul Anderson  After Dinner Conversation
I'm amazed, walking past the cabins in the early evening, of all the varieties and quality of scents that are drifting around from all the gourmet cooking that is going on!

Cathy and Jeff, our Ross Lake neighbors each year (and friends from the cabin next door), invite their friends every year, and each couple cooks one night.  And every year, each couple tries to out do the other.

And every year I am the beneficiary of their culinary skills and generosity.  "Eh Paulie! Ya gotta try this appetiser!" 

"Paul try this beef tenderloin with chocolate mole sauce!"

"Pablo another margarita!"

"Zwei margaritas Cathy & Jeff por favor - merci!"

Then on Saturday Jerry and Allyson backpack in with the boys and share fresh halibut, or salmon, or dungeness crab caught early that morning out in the Straits of Georgia.

Or I walk past some of the other cabins and Doug and his wife ask if I want a beer and some great goat cheese they just discovered down at the Pike Place Market in Seattle.

And I feel like a bigger mooch than Keena and Roland, the two resort supervisors, who get fed by everyone, and who always show up and sit politely at the doors of the best fed cabins.

But, I eventually make it back to our cabin - filled with the latest news from over the last year, and I with a slightly lopsided grin begin to prepare our dinner.

Caesar Salad:

2-3 cloves garlic (how close and how soon you sleep next to your significant other will help determine how much used)
2-3 anchovy slices or 6" bead of anchovy paste from tube (see comment for garlic)
1-2 tblsp worchestershire sauce
3-4 tblsps red wine vinegar
1 tblsp good mustard (hey use yellow if that's all you got)
olive oil about 1/4 cup to start
parmesan cheese - buy the good stuff and shred it yourself (try not to use the green cylinder "powdered" parmesan)
lettuce - normally romaine (but who really cares because eating the salad while sitting in front of your cabin will only enhance this salad) 
- Smear the garlic to a pulp
- add anchovy, worchestershire, red wine vinegar, mustard and moosh it all together
- add about 6 globs of regular mayo to begin, or use low fat, or fat free mayo.
- slowly drizzle in, while stirring, the olive oil.
- and then correct everything to your taste!  Add more mayo if too runny, more anchovies, more vinegar - it doesn't matter - it's your taste buds that have to be satisfied!

Oh and don't get too hung up on following the recipe exactly - example: use white wine vinegar or basalmic if that's all you got.  When you substitute or change this recipe the flavor will change somewhat, but it is still better than going without the salad.

If possible let the dressing meld (that's meld not mold - as in incorporating all the layers of flavor) together in the refrigerator for a while.

Wash and dry lettuce, add dressing to taste, add cheese, drizzle lemon juice on top, add croutons, mix and enjoy!

Wait!!!!  Don't forget cracked pepper when you plate - if/as required!

Believe it or not most rugrats love this salad - even the teenagers who sometimes ask "wot's a vegie table?"