Monday, May 25, 2009

Paradise Caesar Salad

While by no means a traditional Caesar, this is a salad worthy of sonnets. The name is in honor of it's birthing place, a place so beautiful we simply call it Paradise.

When visiting in 2004, I ate this salad so much that the chef handed me a present before leaving...a list of ingredients for the dressing. At the time, I was more of an "eater" instead of a "preparer" and was terribly intimidated by the list of ingredients in formats like "0.009 quantity of anchovis" (purposeful misspelling to accurately reflect the Sweenglish that it was in). I never dared to try to make the dressing on my own.

So I dreamed. Fantasized. Imagined shrimp with a hint of lemongrass playfully bounding across leaves sunning themselves in Caesar dressing. For three whole years.

The second I arrived back at the island last year, I immediately ordered up two salads. Upon delivery, I undressed the prawns with my eyes. When I took my first bite, a tear actually escaped. Unfortunately, these were not tears of happiness. This was in no way the salad that either of us had remembered, that we had dreamed about so often.

The original chef was long gone, taking the recipe with him. The salad placed before me reminded me of the fourth Michael Keaton in Duplicity ...a sad copy of a copy of a copy of the original.

Last weekend, using the Sweenglish dressing ingredient list as a guide, I went for it. The end result? Original Paradise. I can actually feel my toes curling around the sand with every bite I take.

Dressing Ingredients and Directions:

2 tsp anchovy paste
1.5 tbs capers
1.5 tbs garlic
1 tbs dijon mustard with grains
1/2 tsp pepper, ground
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
7 ounces olive oil
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp worchester
1 tsp red chilies
2 tbs grated parmesan
3.5 tbs water
4 tbs mayonnaise

In the bowl of a food processor, blend everything until well combined. Taste improves overnight.

Salad Ingredients and Assembly:

1 or 2 sliced of applewood bacon, cooked to your liking
Parmesan cheese, shaved
Cherry tomatoes, halved
1 head of romaine or green leaf lettuce (serves two), chopped
Black or Kalamata olives, halved
4 16/20 prawns per person, peeled and deveined
1 tbs butter, melted
1. Cook bacon. Drain.
2. Toss lettuce with 1/3 cup of dressing. Divide lettuce among plates.
3. Assemble tomatoes, olives, bacon and cheese on top of the lettuce.
4. Skewer prawns. Brush with butter and grill for 2 minutes each side. Brush with butter before flipping and again at the end.
5. Assemble prawns on top of salad. Serve.
Extra Credit: To get the mild lemongrass flavor, use a lemongrass brush to butter the prawns. To make the brush, remove the bottom from one pieces of lemongrass. Pound out the tender part until it fans out like a brush. Use accordingly.

1 comment:

  1. The salad looks amazing!! If I were to create it, I'd add the addition of a pouched egg :)


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