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French Laundry cookbook...

Grasshopper_'s picture

...has anyone actually made the complicated recipe for the caesar salad? I know there was a discussion about it before but I want to know if anyone has actually tried it. I'm very curious. I'm going to start it tonight but thought I'd find out the "nuances" of making that recipe first.

quartet_'s picture

(post #58847, reply #1 of 23)

i haven't made the caesar's salad from the french laundry, but i've made other things out of the book, all of which have been great. follow what he says to the letter. keller's ideas and execution are really amazing and his book is wonderful. good luck with it and let us all know the results.

Zapper_'s picture

(post #58847, reply #2 of 23)

I don't know the cookbook you are speaking of but here is a great recipe.

Caesar Salad With Bagel Croutons

Recipe By : Heritage Of America
Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Salad

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 Each Egg
1/3 Cup Chicken Broth
2 Each Anchovy Fillets, or 1 Teaspoon paste
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Finely Shredded Lemon Peel
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/4 Teaspoon White Wine Worcestershire
1 Clove Garlic (Halved)
10 Cups Torn Romaine Lettuce
1 Cup Bagel Croutons
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
Whole Black Peppercorns

For the dressing, in a blender container or food processor bowl combine egg, chicken broth, anchovy, olive oil, lemon peel, lemon juice, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Blend or process until smooth.
Transfer dressing to a small saucepan. Cook and stir dressing over low heat for 8 - 10 minutes or until thickened. Do not boil. Chill for 2 - 24 hours.
To serve, rib the inside of a salad bowl with the garlic cloves. Add romaine, Bagel Croutons, and Parmesan cheese to salad bowl. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Place on individual plates and grind peppercorns over each serving.

Bagel Croutons:
Split 2 onion bagels. With the cut side down slice each bagel half into 1/4 inch thick half moons. In a large skillet combine 3 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 2small cloves of garlic minced. Cook and stir till butter melts. Remove from heat. Stir bagel pieces into butter mixture. Spread pieces in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes. Stir; bake 10 to 15 minutes more or till dry and crisp. Cool croutons. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Makes about 2 cups.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Adele_'s picture

(post #58847, reply #3 of 23)

So Young Hopper- how did the salad turn out?

I'm going to try something from the book soon- just can't decide what.

ashleyd_'s picture

(post #58847, reply #4 of 23)

Nice try Zap, but this is just another good Caesar Salad recipe, the French Laundry job is something else
i entirely.

Grasshopper_'s picture

(post #58847, reply #5 of 23)

I have a great Caesar Salad dsg recipe I love (thanks, though); I just want to try the French Laundry version.

I didn't get to do the recipe yet. My son asked me to make lots of pizza dough for a party, and toppings for it since he unexpectedly had to work late and my DH accidentally sent along all the expensive Parmigiano Reggiano with son's stuff, thinking the bag was ours. About $11 worth of parm put on pizzas for guys that wear their pants down to their thighs. I'm sick. Bought tons of it last night, will try it today...

Lumpy's picture

(post #58847, reply #6 of 23)

My brother-in-law made the Caesar salad in the French Laundry cookbook. Unfortunately, I wasn't there to eat it. He said it worked out fine, but like someone mentioned above, you pretty well have to follow Keller's directions to the letter. BTW, he has made lots of other recipes in that cookbook and really likes them. All I've ever done is the balsamic glaze but hey, I'm a beginner...

tnew's picture

(post #58847, reply #7 of 23)

So what makes the aforementioned recipe so special? Is a posting of it possible? TIA

Glenys_'s picture

(post #58847, reply #8 of 23)

I don't have time to type the recipe now but here are the components:
Caesar Salad-"Parmigiano-Reggiano Custards with Romaine Lettuce, Anchovy Dressing and Parmesan Crisps"
To assemble the recipe:
anchovy vinaigrette, baked custards, Romaine chiffonade and for the finshed layering and plate presentation: crouton slices made from baguette, Parmesan crisps (the much discussed frico), Parmesan shavings and balsamic glaze (reduction. All this is neatly arrange in a small, yummy vertical presentation and deftly garnished.

Grasshopper_'s picture

(post #58847, reply #9 of 23)

I just thought it'd be fun to try it. I don't have the book but I checked Borders to see what the recipe looked like. It looks like each "thing" is stacked on top of the other. Kinda' wierd but I like the idea of the crisps... Darn, I still haven't completed the recipe (just measured out the stuff that can sit). Got waylayed (?) by Rick Bayless' book.

zally_'s picture

(post #58847, reply #10 of 23)

> "each "thing" is stacked on top of the other"

GH, On another BB I happened upon a discussion about personal food-related quirks and was amazed how many involved foods
b not touching
on the plate. It left me wondering just how they must react to the vertical presentations so in vogue in higher-end restaurants these days.

Rebecca's picture

(post #58847, reply #11 of 23)

For some reason I have this recipe on Mastercook - here it is (I have not made this):

* Exported from MasterCook *


Recipe By :Thomas Keller
Serving Size : 4

2 c balsamic vinegar
Anchovy Dressing:
1 1/2 T chopped garlic
1 1/2 T chopped shallots
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
2 T Dijon mustard
1 t fresh lemon juice
2 salt-packed anchovy fillets -- deboned, soaked in milk to cover for for 30 minutes, drained, and patted dry
1 lg egg yolk
1 c extra virgin olive oil
1 c canola oil
Freshly ground white pepper
Custards :
2/3 c heavy cream
2/3 c milk
3 1/2 ozs Parmigiano-Reggiano -- in 1/2" pieces
2 lg eggs + 1 lg egg yolk
Kosher salt
white pepper
To finish :
3 c chiffonade of inner romaine lettuce leaves
2 T grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (from a
moist piece of cheese) for Parmesan Crisps
12 croutons (from a baguette) -- about 1/4" thick
Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings for garnish -- (made with a vegetable peeler)

FOR THE BALSAMIC GLAZE: Heat the vinegar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until steam rises from the liquid. Place the saucepan over a heat diffuser and let the liquid reduce very slowly (it shouldn't simmer) for 2 to 3 hours, until it has reduced and thickened into a syrupy glaze. There should be approximately 1/2 cup of balsamic glaze.

Keep the glaze in a squeeze bottle at room temperature for garnishing plates; if the glaze is too thick, warm the bottle in hot water to soften the glaze.

FOR THE DRESSING: Puree the garlic, shallots, vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, and anchovies in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a mixer with a paddle attachment and beat in the egg yolk. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the oils. Season with white pepper. Cover and refrigerate.

Makes 3 cups, which is more than you need for this recipe. Store the extra in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

FOR THE CUSTARDS: Place the cream, milk and Parmigiano-Reggiano in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat, cover, and let the flavors infuse for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Whisk the eggs and yolk together in a medium bowl. Reheat the cream mixture until it is hot. While whisking, gradually strain the cream and milk onto the eggs to temper them. Season with salt and white pepper.

Ladle 2 tablespoons of the custard mixture into each of 12 1- to 2-ounce aluminum foil baking molds, timbale molds or other small molds. Place the molds in a roasting pan and add hot water to come about halfway up the sides of the molds. If you are using foil cups and they float, place a baking sheet or pan over them to hold them down.

Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until the custards are just set; the edges should look set, but the very centers may not be. Remove the molds from the water bath and refrigerate the custards for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

FOR THE PARMESAN CRISPS: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sprinkle about Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of the cheese in one corner of a nonstick baking sheet. Use your fingers to spread cheese into a 2-inch circle (or diameter of the molds). Repeat with the remaining cheese; you should have about 12 rounds.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Use a small spatula to transfer them to paper towels. They will still be soft when they are removed but will stiffen as they cool. Store crisps in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

TO COMPLETE: Toss the romaine with the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and just enough dressing to lightly coat the lettuce. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Place a spoonful of dressing onto each plate. Run a small paring knife around the edge of each custard, dip the molds briefly in hot water, and unmold each custard onto a crouton. Center one crouton in each pool of dressing.

Lay a Parmesan crisp over each custard and top with a stack of salad. Place shavings of cheese over the romaine and garnish with a ring or small pool of Balsamic Glaze.

Source: "French Laundry Cookbook"

Jean_'s picture

(post #58847, reply #12 of 23)

Thanks, Reba, I've been going nuts trying to remember WHERE I've read that recipe. I have it saved too, but can't find it searching here! I know we must have discussed it before. GRRR.

tnew's picture

(post #58847, reply #13 of 23)

Thanks Rebecca--It looks about as much like traditional Ceasar salad as a one bedroom ranchhouse resembles a mansion, but still, it might be fun to make for guests. Definitely not something you throw together while the steaks are resting :)

samchang_'s picture

(post #58847, reply #14 of 23)

Speaking of personal food quirks and hot and hip restaurant serving styles, I have this thing against vertical food. If I want a salad, I want a salad, not a Napoleon. Vertical food for verticality's sake, however, is not my top gripe, which happens to be that if I'm ordering a sauced item, put the sauce
i over
the serving, not drizzled around the edge of the plate or on the bottom of the food. I guess my style is more home-style and rustic than it is
i haute.

MadMom_'s picture

(post #58847, reply #15 of 23)

samchang - I think you've hit upon one of my major complaints. Although the "look" of a food is important, it shouldn't be the overriding concern. I get the feeling that some of the "plating" is done more for the chef's amusement than for the enjoyment of the customer. I'm sure the idea of a plate as a canvas to be used as a background for the creation of an object d'art is a worthwhile one, but sometimes we lose sight of the main reason we order eat it, rather than to look at it.

Marie-Louise_'s picture

(post #58847, reply #16 of 23)

I'm always worried that one of the layers is going to go sailing all over the front of my nice silk blouse!

It's funny, I was just thinking about this the other day... It's been a long time since I cooked anything "fancy" for my friends. I occasionally still cook that way when it's just the two of us, but my cooking has definately veered much more towards the Nogales Tacos or Lamb-You-Can-Eat-with a Spoon comfort food -type menus. And all my friends seem to be cooking the same way, too. I can't remember the last time I saw anyone serve a cake (even a bakery cake) when it wasn't someone's birthday, either. A few cookies or a little fruit and ice cream w/ some great coffee-that's it.

Anyone else experiencing this, or am I just running around with a lazy/overworked crowd?

Ann_G's picture

(post #58847, reply #17 of 23)

I deplore constructed food that requires a crane and directions to eat. I want food not architecture that happens to be edible. I also lean away from "haute" as Samchang states.

cam14's picture

(post #58847, reply #18 of 23)

This is interesting, I have been doing some research on reduction sauces and came across this article yesterday - some of you may find it interesting since it's about getting back to the basics and filling the plate without all the fancy smaltz.

kai_'s picture

(post #58847, reply #19 of 23)

i I deplore constructed food that requires a crane and directions to eat.

Hear hear! And have you ever tried to "cut" any of these constructions? Splashes all over, and sometimes the servers look at you askance when you say "Would you please give me a dry-cleaning certificate?" I also hate having to run a forkfull (if it even stays on a fork) of something all around the outside of the plate just to try to sop up some of the supposedly wonderful sauce--that frequently looks better than it tastes, or, if vice versa, isn't enough.

Messy_Cook's picture

(post #58847, reply #20 of 23)

I think I dislike an overloaded plate (you know the buffet type with food piled so high it's impossible to know what is lurking underneath) as much as the overly constructed plate.
The former makes me lose my appetite and the later looks like it's for display only.

cam14's picture

(post #58847, reply #21 of 23)

Messy Cook, I have to agree with you about the overloaded plate - upsets me because I know I'll be wasting most of it. As for the constructed plate, I don't mind it at all - nice eye candy and the amount is right for me. I'd much rather leave a place wishing I could have a bit more of a dish - means I'll be back to taste again.

Lee's picture

(post #58847, reply #23 of 23)

I couldn't find it either, but I know someone (Wolvie?) posted it recently.

pamilyn's picture

(post #58847, reply #22 of 23)

Thanks Jean....

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls