Mark Peel owns Campanile restaurant in Los Angeles where he serves family style dinners every Monday night. His new book is New Classic Family Dinners.
Almost Classic Caesar Salad
Makes 6 servings
1 fat garlic clove, halved, green shoot removed
1⁄4 tsp kosher salt
1⁄4 cup plus 1 teaspoon canola oil
2 anchovy fillets, soaked, drained, and patted dry
Zest of 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
11⁄2 tsps strained freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 large egg yolk (coddle for 3 minutes if desired)
1⁄3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1⁄3 tsp cracked black peppercorns
3 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1⁄3 cup finely diced red onion
3 cups garlic croutons (page 29)
3 romaine hearts, leaves separated, washed and dried
3 oz Parmesan cheese, shaved
Cracked black peppercorns to taste
1. Make the dressing: In a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic clove with the salt and 1 teaspoon of the canola oil until smooth. Add the anchovies and continue to mash together until the mixture is very smooth.
2. Bring a small pan of water to a boil and add the lemon zest. Blanch for 45 seconds, drain, and dry on paper towels. Chop fine and add to the garlic mixture. Add the vinegar and lemon juice and mix together. Stir in the egg yolk.
3. Slowly whisk in the 1⁄4 cup canola oil, then the olive oil (it’s important to whisk in the canola oil first, because it stabilizes the dressing). Whisk in the pepper and the
Parmesan. If the dressing seems too thick, thin with a tablespoon or two of water. Refrigerate and allow the dressing to mellow for an hour or more before serving.
4. Make the salad: Place the diced red onion in a strainer and set the strainer in a small bowl. Cover with cold water and let sit for approximately 5 minutes. Swish the onion around in the water, then lift the strainer out of the water and rinse the onion with cold water. Dry on paper towels.
5. In a large bowl, toss the garlic croutons with 3 tablespoons of the salad dressing to soften them slightly. Add the romaine and the remaining dressing and toss together with the croutons. Arrange on a platter or on plates. Top with the shaved Parmesan, sprinkle on the red onion, add 2 to 3 pinches of cracked pepper, and serve.
Makes about 4 cups
1⁄4 lb bread, preferably a ciabatta or similar bread with a loose crumb and open-hole structure
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 fat garlic clove, halved, green shoot removed, very finely minced
1 tsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1⁄4 tsp kosher salt
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Cut the crusts off the bread and tear the bread into approximately 1-inch pieces. They should be irregularly shaped. Place in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil until the bread is evenly coated.
2. Spread the bread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until crisp. Remove from the oven, transfer back to the bowl, and toss at once with the minced garlic, the parsley, and the salt. Allow to cool. With your hands, lift the croutons from the bowl, allowing much of the garlic to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Transfer the croutons to an airtight container and discard the garlic left in the bowl.
Makes 24 clams, 6 to 8 servings
1 Tablespoon chopped chives
11⁄2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1⁄2 small garlic clove, green shoot removed, roughly chopped
Pinch of kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 Tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
11⁄2 oz bacon (2 strips)
Rock salt for the baking sheet (optional)
24 cherrystone clams, shucked and left on the half shell
1. In a mortar and pestle, mash together the herbs, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the butter and mash together.
2. Cook the bacon until just cooked through but not crisp. Remove from the heat and cut in 1-inch pieces.
3. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cover a baking sheet with a 1⁄2-inch-thick layer of rock salt, if using. Heat in the oven for 5 minutes. Now preheat the broiler.
4. Place the clams on top of the salt (this is just to keep them steady). Top each with about 2 drops lemon juice and 1⁄2 teaspoon of the butter mixture. Lay a piece of bacon over the top.
5. Place under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, until the butter is sizzling. Serve immediately.
Music Break: Lei Aloha Lei Makamae by Chick Floyd