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David Ross

eG Cook-Off #79: Resurrecting and Rethinking Summer Salads, Summer Food’s Unpopular Kid

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I've been making my version of Caesar salad for years, but it was only yesterday that I decided to grill the romaine and make it a true "summer" salad.  I've grilled lettuce before, just never dressed with my traditional take on Caesar salad.

 

I make homemade croutons starting with whatever loaf of bread looks good in the bakery. I try a softer loaf like French or Italian and cut big size croutons.  The ones in a bag are too puny.  After I cut the croutons I put them in the oven to dry out and start to crisp. I like a softer bread for croutons because they soak up the copious amounts of melted butter and garlic olive oil that I drench them with before baking them a second time in the oven to crisp them. 

 

The dressing is:

 1 1/2 cups garlic olive oil, (just olive oil to which I add many cloves of grated garlic)

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 2oz. can flat anchovies, chopped, (and add the oil in the can to the dressing)

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard, (I used to use dry mustard, but the Dijon has much more flavor)

2 tbsp. Worcestershire (a LOT of Worcestershire)

2 tsp. chopped capers

1 coddled egg (I take risks with eggs, coddling it just barely sets the white)

Fresh oregano

Fresh chives

Salt and plenty of cracked black pepper

 

When I make a regular Caesar I use both romaine and butter lettuce.  This time just romaine, cut in half, brushed with olive oil and grilled about 3 minutes to get a bit of char and smokey flavor.  I've started to thinly shave the cheese because I think it's a more delicate texture than grated cheese and blends better into the dressing.  I used parmesan this time, but prefer the stronger tang of Asiago.

 

Grilled Caesar Close-up.JPG

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, David Ross said:

The dressing is:

Wow. That’s more than 2 cups of dressing.

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2 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

And a whole can of anchovies!

 

As someone who just put the same 2oz tin of anchovies into a sauce* with a 3/4 cup yield, I'm not sure how to reply to this. 

 

* Caper-Raisin Vinaigrette from Six Seasons

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Well yesterday the plan was to make my summer version of a potato salad.  I've been making this potato salad for about 15 years.  I created it by accident really when some some friends were planning a big summer outdoor party.  I remember thinking potato salad but how could I do it different?  It's just small potatoes, red, fingerling or baby Yukon golds that I boil until tender and chill.  Then I make homemade mayonnaise using a Greek olive oil because it has a peppery flavor and is more fragrant than other olive oils and the mayonnaise has this vibrant yellow color.  Then in goes some diced red pepper, Kalamata or other good olive, (sometimes I use little French nicoise olives or dry-cured black olives), chives or green onions, capers and little haricot vert green beans.  We don't usually see fresh haricot vert in the markets so the frozen ones work pretty well. 

 

But then I started thinking, what about using those little baby Yukon Golds that I roasted under a chicken the night  before?  I know, it doesn't sound right to roast a chicken in the oven when it's 103 outside, but I was craving roast chicken and potatoes.  I had a lot of roasted potatoes left over and they had roasted in all those delicious chicken juices and fat.

And instead of making homemade mayonnaise, (or using bottled mayonnaise), I thought I might try the leftover Caesar Salad dressing from the Grilled Caesar I did a few days back.  Oh and some of the oregano I have growing out of control in a planter on the back porch.  So to be trendy I'll call it a Roast Potato Summer Salad.  Much different from the traditional potato salad but a delicious alternative.

Roasted Potato Caesar Salad.JPG

 

 

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@David Ross  I like your potato use. I started cooking mine for salad in a flavored/vinegared water. Adding that flavor during cooking really makes the potato more of the star of it own salad rather than just a vehicle. 

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4 hours ago, heidih said:

@David Ross  I like your potato use. I started cooking mine for salad in a flavored/vinegared water. Adding that flavor during cooking really makes the potato more of the star of it own salad rather than just a vehicle. 

 

Oh, I LIKE that idea. Proportions of vinegar:water?

 

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16 hours ago, kayb said:

 

Oh, I LIKE that idea. Proportions of vinegar:water?

 

 

I got the idea from Kenji's VERY detailed potato salad analysis here  https://www.seriouseats.com/2010/07/the-food-lab-how-to-make-the-best-potato-salad-done-right.html

 

Of course being the "just enough" anti-measuring goof that I am I just add a decent splash of plain old white or cide vinegar and don't use sugar.

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"decent splash" works. I can go from there! Thanks!

 

 

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The recipe calls for one tablespoon vinegar per quart as well as one tablespoon salt.

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During the summer I sometimes make a warm potato salad by steaming baby or nugget potatoes, adding green beans for the last 5 or 6 minutes and then immediately mixing those with tomatoes, feta cheese, white or sweet onion and quickly tossing with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Usually most or all of the veggies will be from the local farms. It's not hugely original and it could probably be dressed up more, but it's something we really enjoy now and then. If I have fresh basil, I might throw that on top. 

 

Last night was not hot, but it was warm and neither of us cared if we had meat or not. So we each had a plate of the above mix. Sometimes I chop it up more or use cherry tomatoes. It's a simple thing, but I have to say when the produce is right, it's one of my fave summer salads. 

 

Composed. 

IMGP6598.thumb.JPG.c3c3a0e57b3133a7c40d7054b3fd3305.JPG

 

Lightly mixed, with dressing. 

IMGP6602.thumb.JPG.6e012bab8be02c9f144f6d14a2f0b34c.JPG

 

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One of my favorite summer salads, when the tomatoes finally come in, is a Caprese salad. We keep basil out on the deck, olive oil and balsamic vinegar in the pantry, and for special occasions we'll buy thinly-sliced salami and mozzarella cheese. When the season is right, nothing IMO can be simpler - or finer. Well, it's even better with fresh, warm sourdough bread.

 

20180816_224639.jpg

 

This picture is actually from a sailboat cruise last summer, but I stumbled over it earlier today and think it's worth sharing.

 

 

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