|Caesar Salad in a Parmesan Cup|
Salad season is here so let's celebrate!!! To start the season off right I made one of the most popular salads of all time, once called "the best thing coming out of the America's" by those in Paris. Instead of Parmesan cheese in the salad this garlicky Caesar salad with crisp, salty bacon and homemade croutons is piled high into Parmesan cheese cups. It makes a beautiful presentation and will make your guests feel loved!
Caesar salad is not named after the Roman emperor but for Caesar Cardini. There are very few people still around who would have witnessed the original salad in the making. When Julia Child was about 9 years old her parents took her to his restaurant in Tijuana, just the other side of the border from San Diego. As excerpted from her book, "When Caesar Cardini first served his famous salad in the early 1920s, he used just the hearts of the romaine lettuce, the tender short leaves in the centre, and he presented them whole. The salad was tossed and dressed, then arranged on each plate so that you could get your hands into it and pick up each leaf by its short end and savour every bite. Many customers didn't like to get their fingers covered with egg-and-cheese-and-garlic dressing, so he changed to the conventional torn leaf type of salad. Too bad, since the salad lost much of its individuality and drama." In the past I have resurrected the original Caesar salad from Caesar's at home... providing my guests with plenty of big paper napkins. I love to eat with my hands!!! It's so primal!!! This salad is a little less messy since you can pick up the entire basket with your hands or use a knife and fork. So let's celebrate!!!
**Caesar Salad in a Parmesan Cheese Basket**
From the More Than Burnt Toast Kitchen
2 cups (16 oz.) freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, grated
1 fresh head of romaine lettuce, broken into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup of your favourite Caesar dressing
4 slices of bacon
6 anchovy fillets (optional for garnish)
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make 1/3-cup-size mounds of grated cheese, 4 inches apart on the baking sheet. Gently spread cheese into very thin circles (if too thick, they will not become crispy).
Bake approximately 5 minutes until cheese is melted and turns into a crunchy, light golden crust. Don't overcook, as they will become bitter. This can be tricky so have a look at your cheese rounds at the 4 minutes mark.
Remove from oven and allow to cool 1 minute. Carefully remove crisps with thin metal spatula, placing on paper towels to drain. While still warm, place rounds into 6-inch ramekins or over inverted water glasses to shape into a bowl. Remove when completely cool.
Meanwhile, in a frying pan cook bacon slices until crispy. Drain on paper towelling and break into pieces.
Prepare Caesar salad dressing. In a bowl mix romaine lettuce, bacon pieces and dressing. Toss lightly to coat. Place the prepared salad into your Parmesan cheese basket. Place on 6 medium-sized dinner plates, grind black pepper on top and sprinkle with homemade croutons.