Most of my food making is borne out of – “What do I do with these leftover mashed potatoes? Oh Google says make shepherd’s pie. Ok, I can do that. Wait. I need cream but only half a cup. Hmm I guess I could make cupcakes or something with that. Oh damn. I have like waaay too much butter. Brownies?”
And the cycle keeps going. AND GOING.
This used to stress me out when I first started cooking different things that weren’t the staple, chicken curry, channa masala, Indian based dishes my Mom taught me to survive my undergrad in Canada. But now each week is an adventure because I’m improvising from what I cooked the week before and I’m not going to lie – even for a type-A, control-a-holic like me – it’s kind of exciting.
A couple of weeks ago I made lasagna, which was ok-ok (hence me not-posting it), and was left with half a hunk of Parmesan cheese. I don’t really eat that much cheese because I believe it makes me retain water and makes me breakout. But it’s expensive man. So I couldn’t throw it away.
This time Google didn’t help, instead it was a fresh caesar salad at the bistro/bar Overeasy that left me wanting more.
What makes this salad awesome is clearly the dressing and this particular rendition doesn’t have eggs or mayo. Yaay!
I also made the croutons from scratch and cooked up some shrimp. Because I’m fancy like that. If you want chicken instead – go ahead you pleb.
4 whole anchovy fillets (If you want it more pungent, add more anchovies)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
1/2 whole lemon, juiced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 dash salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Half a loaf of sourdough bread, cubed
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
few twists of pepper
pinch of garlic salt (optional)
Precooked shrimp, as much as you want
2 Tbsps oil
Minced garlic, 2-4 cloves, depending on amount of shrimp
Lemon juice, depending on amount of shrimp
Pinch of salt
Romaine salad leaves, as much as you want
Parmesan, shaved/grated, as much as you want
Using a small food processor blender, blend together the anchovies, Dijon mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire, garlic and lemon juice.
Add olive oil to the mixture and blend. Add the Parmesan, salt and black pepper. Blend until thoroughly combined.
Refrigerate the dressing for a few hours before using it on the salad.
Preheat the oven to 175C/350C.
Throw the cubed bread on a baking sheet.
Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan for 3 minutes or so. Add the salt, pepper and garlic salt.
Drizzle oil over the bread and mix with your hands so that the bread is evenly coated with the oil mixture.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes till golden brown.
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
Add the minced garlic and shrimp – at the same time. (It will be fine I promise)
Cook till shrimp is done, it should be opaque and bit brown.
Add lemon juice at the last minute and a pinch of salt. Remove from heat.
Chop, wash and dry the romaine salad leaves.
Drizzle some dressing on the salad leaves. I can’t tell you how much because I don’t know how much salad you’re eating.
Throw in a good handful of the Parmesan cheese that you’ve shaved/grated.
Toss! See if you need more dressing, toss again.
Add the croutons and protein accompaniment.
*Recipe adapted from Ree Drummond.