Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Hail Caesar!...salad

This is a monster of a Caesar salad. I didn't follow any particular recipe but tried to make sure it had a good balance of veggies (romaine, peppers) and proteins (chicken, eggs, prosciutto). And of course a few tasty morsels tossed in. That is to say, FRIED CAPERS. Ohmygod. Forget what you know about those pungent, briny pearls. Frying capers transforms the flavour and texture into something milder and aromatic, with a pleasant light crunch. Sooooo good. Make a batch and save the leftovers for pasta or beef carpaccio. Mm-mm. 

So, the salad. You know you want it. 


To prepare chicken:

Shred 1-1/2 cups of roasted or rotisserie chicken. 

To make hard-boiled eggs:

Place 6 eggs in a saucepan and add cold water until the eggs are submerged by at least 1 inch. Add 1 tsp white vinegar. Bring to a slow boil, uncovered, then reduce heat and allow eggs to simmer for one minute. Remove the saucepan from the element, cover, and allow to sit to 12 minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Remove and dry the eggs, then discard the shell. Coarsely chop.

To prepare prosciutto:

Cut up 6-8 slices of prosciutto in small strips. Dry heat a small sauté pan over medium-high heat, then add the prosciutto. Sauté for 1-2 minutes until the prosciutto is starting to brown and turn crispy.*

To make blackened peppers:

Core and deseed 4 or 5 red or yellow peppers. Cut in half vertically, then place on a baking sheet skin-side up. Roast at 450°F for 20 minutes. The skin should be mostly blackened. If not, broil for a few minutes further. Using tongs, place the peppers in a large sealed ziplock bag for 20 minutes. At this point the skins should slip off quite easily and they can be discarded. Dice the peppers. 

To make roasted garlic:

Cut the cap off a head of garlic so the tops of the cloves are exposed. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap tightly in foil. Roast in the oven at 350°F for about 45 minutes. Squeeze out the roasted cloves and mash with a fork. 

To make capers:

Drain, rinse and thoroughly dry 1 jar of capers, reserving 1T of the brine. Pour enough canola oil into a small sauté pan to cover the bottom. Heat oil on a high setting it reaches 350°F. Add the capers and sauté for 1-2 minutes, shaking the pan, until light brown. Drain well on paper towels. Set aside 1/4 cup of capers for the recipe and refrigerate the rest for a later use. 

To assemble salad:

Wash and tear up 1-1/2 heads of romaine lettuce. In a large salad bowl, toss lettuce, chicken, prosciutto, eggs, peppers, garlic and capers with commercial or homemade Caesar salad dressing, croutons, grated parmesan, cracked pepper and fresh lemon juice to taste. 

*'Health Canada recommends dried and salted deli meats in pregnancy as a safer alternative to non-dried deli meats.' 

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