There was a time I carried a Palm Pilot—back when I went to law school and I wanted my life mapped out for me. I had my schedule, I had my phone numbers: it was all very formal. I hated it. I have friends and people in my life who must schedule everything, who map their lives out to the tiniest detail and find that very rewarding. Not me. I like chaos. [For reference: see messy apartment, messy desk, messy brain.] [Actually: messy website! (but that’s being remedied)]
But if there’s one thing I wish I had a Palm Pilot for it’s recipes. I’d love to carry a million recipes in my pocket so that when I go to the grocery store, like I did tonight, I could see what looks good and find a recipe to match it. Alas: I have no Palm Pilot, I have no million recipes, and so I have to rely on that most ancient form of Palm Pilot: my brain.
Standing in Citarella tonight I had a revelation: “I want a Caesar salad,” said a voice in my head. Suddenly The Barefoot Contessa’s recipe, which I’ve never made, came into my head. I knew what i needed. The most basic things to buy when making Caesar are simple: garlic, anchovies, and Romaine lettuce. Everything else you probably have at home. And then there’s the extra Contessa stuff: sliced pancetta [4 thick slices] and cherry tomatoes. Check and check.
At home, preheat your oven to 400. Put the cherry tomatoes (about 1 carton) on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes until soft.
Then deal with the pancetta. Cut it up into 1/2 inch cubes and cook in a skillet on medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Now for the salad. This is the fun part. It involves a raw egg. I separated the egg first and put the yolk in a bowl and left it out for a while to come to room temperature.
When it’s at room temperature, put it into a food processor with 2 tsps Dijon mustard, 2 cloves of garlic chopped (I used 3, I like it garlicky), 8 to 10 anchovy fillets, 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons) [I only had 1 lemon and it was fine], 2 tsps kosher salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper.
You blend that until smooth then down the feed tube slowly pour 1 1/2 cups good mild olive oil. It’ll make a dressing. Then add 1/2 cup freshly grated Paremsan and pulse 3 times.
Ok, so in a bowl add sliced Romaine lettuce [she likes them cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch slices] and enough dressing to “moisten well.” Whoah. She says to add 1 cup of grated Paremsan and toss. I forgot to do that. I wish I would’ve seen that, I had a lot of leftover Parmesan. Anyway. Divide lettuce between plates and sprinkle with the Pancetta and roasted tomatoes. Or put it in the bowl like this. I also added croutons.
Tell me this doesn’t make you swoon:
It’s an awesome Caesar. I recommend it. And if you watch “Rome” (which I don’t, though I hear I should) it’s probably a great thing to make for a “Rome” party. You can wear a toga. And then kill a lot of people. Enjoy!