Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"Caesar's Paradigm Shift Salad"

Anything is possible. The Caesar salad is physical testament to that. The cook opens up a tin of drippy, smelly anchovies and carefully guards her dressing bowl as the cats circle back and forth at her feet below. She lifts the dreaded little thing up with two finger and hesitantly drops it into the mixer. She is trusting the wisdom of scores of chefs her senior who have gone through cases of the salty little pungent strips. The chefs can't seem to keep them in stock, as the happy diners demand Caesar with the eagerness of seals. She puts her faith in the countless recipes she has thumbed through in preparation for this. Eggs plus anchovies equals..that delicious garlicky creamy concoction that bathes crisp romaine and crunchy crouton? Trusting her seniors she gently boils the eggs for 2 min and drops them into the mixer along with the garlic, lemon juice, Worcestershire, and olive oil. The dressing is delicious. 

To quote Herbert Spencer "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance- that principle is contempt prior to investigation"

This morning I met with a marathon coach, with a goal in mind to improve my speed from a 3:30:44 marathon to a 3 hour marathon. What makes me think this is possible? For one thing I have already done it. In 2005 I ran my first marathon in a time of 4:35:37. In 2003 I was a smoker and couldn't run a mile. What made me think it was possible the first time? I decided to believe it was. I remember watching the early morning runners go by my window with apathy, or maybe a little bit of disdain. I thought people were either born runners, or they weren't. The athletes in school were people who seemed to just be born athletic, and because I felt I could never BE them, I chose to pity them instead. I built a story in my mind about how horrible and restrictive their lives must be. I believed that their athleticism would stop them from becoming something really useful in life. I judged. The more I lay down thick coats of judgement the smaller my corner of the world became until I was painted into a state of complete fear of anything active. Until one day, when I decided to change what I believed in. 
Anything is possible.

Preheat oven to 350
cut 1 mini baguette into cubes
heat a chunk of salted butter, 3 cloves of sliced garlic and olive oil until the butter is melted. Toss the bread cubes into the mixture to coat, then pop them in the oven on a baking dish (~15 min) remove from oven and sprinkle with thyme.

The dressing: 
Blend together
3 large spicy cloves of garlic
the juice from 1 1/2 lemons
1 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 rinsed anchovies
1/2 cup olive oil
2 eggs (boiled for 2 min)
1 tsp mustard powder
sprinkle of sugar, pepper and salt 
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Chop 1 head of romaine lettuce. Dress with dressing and shaved Parmesan. Garnish with croutons and olive bar olives (this is how we like it)

Christina's vote "a conspiracy of fishes"


  1. Love it. The salad sounds good too.


  3. Ah, Contempt Prior...

    I will never forget my very first Ceasar (Broadmoor Hotel, CO Springs, age 10?), prepared tableside by what seemed like an army of chefs...

    Obviously, it's hard to top that.

    But yours sounds great, & nice musings too!