CT Style in The Bender Kitchen with Summertime Recipes!
Back on CT Style in The Bender Kitchen with Ryan Kristafer and Teresa Dufour this past Thursday morning! I feel so fortunate to be working with such a wonderful group of people at WTNH Channel 8 who make it so fun to share The Traveling Epicurean recipes with all of you.
My goal for this segment was to show you a couple of creative and really delicious ideas for all your summertime produce. Panzanella and Berries in Dreamy Cream came to mind.
One of the wonderful things about making these dishes is the abundance and variety you have to choose from at the farmers markets in the summer. The incredible flavors in this Panzanella recipe go without saying. All the aroma’s from the fresh herbs, basil, parsley, thyme & oregano to the fresh vegetables like the heirloom tomatoes, garlic, cucumbers, red onions really get you salavating. The creaminess from the fresh mozzarella and the crunchy from the homemade croutons balance it all out.
As for the Berries in Dreamy Cream, you can whip this one up in a matter of minutes as well. I’ve been making this sauce for over 20 years and always get the same delightful response from guests after their first bite. You would never think that melting Fluff and cream cheese together could make such a delectable sauce on fresh berries. It’s a sensation you have to treat your self to and then you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Caesar salads are probably one of my favorite salads of all time. So many wonderful flavors and textures in this combination from the crunchy garlic croutons (shown below) to the sharpness of the Reggiano Parmesano shaved on top. Then there’s a creaminess with the grated Parmesan and dijon in the actual dressing itself and a tang from the lemon and Dijon. Let’s not forget about that savory flavor in the undertones that you just can’t put your finger on with the anchovy paste and Worcestershire sauce. This Caesar salad is a winner all around!
You will really like how perfectly simple this recipe is and how you can totally make the croutons ahead of time, even weeks ahead. One of the reasons I love this recipe is the make ahead concept which makes our busy lives more enjoyable. You can make my homemade garlic croutons weeks ahead and keep them fresh in a Ziploc baggie in the freezer. Then make my gourmet Caesar salad dressing the morning of your event storing it in a container in the refrigerator until needed. Last but not least the romaine, which you can clean and cut up the night before storing that in a Ziploc baggie while taking the air out ensuring the freshness as I show you in my VIDEO. Cutting up the romaine into 1/2″ strips is key to serving this at a party or picnic making it easy to eat and eliminating the need for unnecessary utensils.
Now there’s the whole dilemma on whether or not to use a raw egg yolk. If I am having a small group of foodie friends over I would definitely add in a raw egg yolk to my Caesar salad dressing because it makes it that much more decadent. If you have never tried it with a farm fresh or organic egg yolk yet you should definitely treat yourself! When I do use an egg yolk I drizzle in the full half cup of olive oil and also add in an extra tablespoon or two of rice wine vinegar and lemon juice . Adding in a tablespoon extra of each will give it a nice balance. It’s basically to get the desired thickness you want because that added yolk offers up an extra thick and creaminess to the dressing this way you thin it out a pinch. For the most part when I make this gourmet Caesar salad for parties and picnics where I’m not sure if there will be someone there with an allergy I play it safe and omit the raw egg. And NO, I am not worried about salmonella with the raw egg because I only use farm fresh eggs directly from the farm or organic brown eggs from the food market. The ONLY time I would buy bulk white eggs from the store is when we are boiling and dyeing eggs for a holiday like Easter. You have to be picky about your ingredients, even the eggs are very important.
A large shallow dish like the one I have in the photos and in my video show is a great investment for salads like this. I have found many gorgeous platters and bowls like this at very economical prices at stores like Home Goods and TJ Max…you should definitely check out those deals! When I have many friends over for dinner I often serve the Caesar salad in that large shallow bowl and if it’s a more intimate dinner party I even plate up individual size portions which also make for a pretty presentation.
Caesar salads are probably my favorite of all time. So many wonderful flavors and textures in this combination from crunchy and garlicky with the Italian garlic croutons, to a sharpness from the shaved Reggiano Parmesano sprinkled on the top of the romaine and a creaminess with the grated Parmesan in the actual dressing itself. Then there is a tang from the lemon and Dijon, and an extra savory flavor in the undertones that you just can’t put your finger on but tastes delicious from the anchovie paste and Worcestershire sauce!
Wow, you will really like the simplicity of this recipe and you can make the croutons a day or more ahead of time and make the dressing the morning of your lunch or dinner. It makes for such a nice presentation if you can use a large shallow dish like the one in the photos. When I have friends over for dinner I often serve the Caesar salad in that large shallow bowl and then add slices of grilled or sautéed chicken breasts, or grilled salmon pieces going all around the outer edges and everyone loves it. Have fun with this and enjoy!
CAESAR SALAD DRESSING RECIPE:
1 large/2 medium cloves of garlic put thru garlic press
1 egg yolk farm fresh or organic brown eggs ONLY – EGG YOLK OPTIONAL
1 Tbsp Dijon – Grey Poupon or Maille
1 Tsp anchovie paste
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fine blk pepper
2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar “seasoned” (this comes original or seasoned …I prefer seasoned)
between 1/3 – 1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4-1/3 cup grated Reggiano Parmesan
2 good dashes of your favorite hot sauce (I use Siracha in this recipe)
DIRECTIONS for the CAESAR DRESSING:
In a medium bowl add garlic thru press, anchovie paste, salt, pepper and Dijon
Mash these items together with the back of a spoon to combine and form a paste in a wooden bowl
Transfer paste to a large glass bowl
Add in 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce, dash of Siracha and rice wine vinegar/ lemon juice mixture
Separate egg yolk from white and add to glass bowl and whisk immediately
Then very slowly whisk in olive oil so it emulsifies JUST DRIZZLE IN DROPS AT A TIME or IT WILL NOT EMULSIFY and you will have to start over
Lastly, whisk in 1/3 grated Reggiano Parmesan
Put the dressing into a canning jar for ease and pop it into the frig til you are ready to use
Be sure to take out 30 minutes before you use the dressing so it can come to room temperature
Will be good for a few days in the frig
Directions for Caesar Salad:
Cut ends off of romaine hearts then cut them in half length wise
Wash and spin leaves
Lay the leaves down on paper towels to catch any additional moisture
Put 3 or 4 pieces at a time layered on top of one another and slice into 1/2″ strips
Here you can put the cut romaine pieces into large freezer Ziploc baggies and into the frig til you are ready to assemble the Caesar salad OR
Put into a large shallow bowl, add dressing, and toss