Saturday, 1 June 2019

Box clever

STEP 1
There is a clue in the dressed leaves on which the box has been sitting
I was watching a cooking show on television the other day and it just came to me.A new twist on how one presents a Caesar salad.The chef on the show was deconstructing the Caesar.It looked delicious but involved a sous-vide egg mayonnaise,a lot of work for a go-to meal that should be ready in less than 20 minutes, something that should be straight forward and simple.What do I know?
I've never been a fan of elaborate, vertical food presentation or stacking,that´s best left for a club sandwich and there is a good reason why it is held together with a skewer.
 Well imagine you are seated in a restaurant apprehensively waiting for your food to arrive and suddenly you are presented with a teetering assemblage of ingredients,which you then have to figure out how to approach the task of getting it from plate to mouth.
Do you start picking ingredients from the top? Pierce through everything and hope for the best? Being  impatient to get stuck in I usually take a fork to the pile and give it a good topple,ruining the chef´s precious presentation.  
To me, the best plating is when the plate continues to look good even after you have eaten half the plate, not when it looks like a demolition site before you have even begun.Aha demolition site,I know I have just dissed it but I think it could become part of my plan.I have created a clearly organized and systematic way of eating a Caesar salad that no one has ever dared come up with before.The actual salad is served,concealed in a toasted bread box with a lid.That is the first stage.It provides a bit of theatrical suspense before you take the lid off the box.
STEP 2 
Lid removed,the promised pleasure of eating a delicious Caesar salad lies before you
Then there  is a bit of a surprise as to what is inside.There is a clue in the dressed leaves on which the box has been sitting
.The box and the lid form the crouton part of this illustrious salad. Curiosity gets the better of you, you remove the lid and hey pandora,its not what you expected.No misery or evil like the Greek story that unfolded centuries ago but the sheer delight, joy and promised pleasure of eating a delicious Caesar salad lies before you.The next stage is what appeals to me most is smashing the box with knife and fork and breaking what initially was perhaps the worlds largest crouton into smaller bite sized fragments.This is when the resulting plate starts to look like a demolition site and you can begin to clean it up,
such fun!! 
STEP 3
the resulting plate starts to look like a demolition site

Here is how its done 

Take a standard white sandwich loaf 

Remove the crust and make rectangular loaf with straight sides

Cut a  slice 2" (5cms)thick 
and trim it to make a 9.5cm cube

With a circular pastry cutter ( 8.5cm diameter)
Cut into the cube to the depth of the pastry cutter
Carefully remove the cutter taking the circle of bread within it out of the cube.
Set the circle of bread aside this will form your lid.
With a teaspoon carefully round off the inside of the cube 
to make a bowl like shape and discard the resulting crumbs.

Line an oven tray with baking parchment
place your bread box  on the parchment and brush all over,inside and out
with olive oil.Do the same with both sides and the rim of the lid.
cut the remains of the loaf into thick slices and then into strips.
Cut the strips into bite size cubes and put them in a bowl 
with a few tablespoons of olive oil.
Toss well to coat them all over.
Transfer them to the baking tray with the box and its lid.

Transfer the tray to a medium hot oven and toast all the bread elements 
until golden brown and crisp
Remove from the oven and cool.
This can be done in advance.The toasted bread and croutons 
will keep in an airtight container for about a week.

While the bread is in the oven prepare the Caesar salad

 CLASSIC CAESAR DRESSING
2 cloves garlic
4 anchovy fillets
1Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 eggs plus two egg yolks
Juice of 1 lemon
125ml white wine vinegar
250ml extra virgin olive oil
300ml sunflower oil
Blend all the ingredients in a processor 
until smooth and creamy. 

FOR THE SALAD
Roughly diced cooked chicken breast or whole anchovies
1 large head crisp cos or romaine lettuce, centre stems removed
and leaves torn into bite-size pieces
⅔ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


TO ASSEMBLE
In a large bowl, toss the torn up lettuce with the croutons and chicken. Add the dressing to taste, reserving any extra for another use. Add the Parmesan and toss again so the cheese and chicken adhere to the salad leaves.Serve immediately.

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