Love Cos lettuce this time of year. We’ve had a little bit of rain and a cool start to spring and the greens are very happy. With Cos and eggs in abundance, my thoughts for the Tuesday Night Vego Challenge this week turned to Caesar salad. There’s a reason that Caesar is a classic salad. Bitterness of lettuce, creaminess of eggs, sourness in the dressing, crunch of the croutons, the saltiness – beautiful fresh ingredients beautifully balanced. Traditionally the saltiness comes from anchovies, and if you are going for a meal without meat rather than vego, you can use anchovies. But pepitas sautéed in soy sauce work really well in a lot of recipes that want that little intense salty crunch.
There’s a nutritional balance in there too. It’s not the lowest calorie of salads, but if you have really nice lettuce that makes up the bulk of it, you can afford croutons.
This is a matter of preparing all the parts, then just putting them together. Makes two big dinner sized bowls.
Turn the oven on to heat up to hot.
Use a mortar and pestle to crush one or two cloves of garlic in a pinch of salt.
Add a couple of dessertspoons of good olive oil and blend in the salty garlic.
Cut three or four slices of bread into little ½ inch (15 mm) cubes – enough to make a good cup full of croutons. I use my heavy wholegrain bread and it works fine. Toss the croutons in the garlic oil and spread on a baking tray.
Bake in a hot oven for about 10 minutes, tossing every so often, till they are brown and crunchy.
Boil 3 eggs till they are just hard, drain, peel and chop into quarters. If you start with cold water, they will take between 4 and 5 minutes from boiling, depending on the size of the eggs. Eggs that are very fresh will be impossible to peel so choose your oldest eggs.
Mix two handfuls of pepitas with two teaspoons of soy sauce. Dry roast them in a hot pan for just a few minutes, stirring all the time, till they just start to pop.
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 2 dessertpoons olive oil