caesar salads i have known

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“You need to write about caesar salads,” said the husband. We’ve been looking at the photos of our recent holiday to Rarotonga, in which various salads had featured largely on the menu. “I’m sure there’s a blog post or something in that,” he said (he’s not really all that clear on what this blogging thing entails, but he knows I enjoy it).

I didn’t really need a lot of encouragement, for I adore caesar salads. All but the anchovies. Yes, I know they’re supposed to be there, but personally I can take or leave these fishy, salty little morsels & I have to say, I much prefer to leave them. The husband doesn’t mind – he adores fish in all its incarnations 🙂

But the rest of the dish… the lovely mouthfeel of sweet, crisp cos lettuce (buttercrunch works too, but not mesclun. Not really. Not IMHO anyway, lol). All those little treats tossed through the lettuce, along with the creamy dressing (which, I must admit, usually comes out of a bottle at our place): the crispy bacon, the crunchy croutons! ** The shavings of parmesan cheese, & atop the whole pile of deliciousness, a lovely warm lightly poached egg that spills its runny yolk over everything else when you pierce it with a fork 🙂 (And OK, if you really must – the anchovies.) Sheer bliss.

Anyway, on that holiday we encountered both the good and the bad of the caesar salad experience. A couple of times, we ordered them for lunch in the resort we stayed at.  (You might think that we would have learned from the first experience, but we were hopeful that this had represented a Bad Day in the kitchen.) Both times, well… they were salads. With all the right ingredients, even. (Including the bluddy anchovies.) But the ingredients did not sing together – probably because they were so cold that their kinetic energy was approaching zero. Well, maybe I exaggerate a little – but both times the concoctions had obviously been made a loooong time in advance & refrigerated until required. That included the eggs, which were cold, set right through, and added nothing to the dish.

But the third time! Ah, the third time, we walked down the road (a slightly risky business in the dark tropical night, given the lack of both pavements and street lights) to that wonderful establishment, the Kikau Hut. The husband, now rather wary of anything with the words ‘caesar’ & ‘salad’ in its title, chose the mahimahi (& was very very happy with it indeed). But I went with the salad & was not disappointed, even though it came – unusually – with a range of tropical fruit included: pawpaw, melon, tomato… (to the botanically-minded, tomatoes are fruit!). I ordered it in a spirit of adventure & I totally loved it: the flavours really worked well together & there were ample crunchy bits. (And the anchovies were incorporated into the dressing, so the saltiness was there but the fishiness was tempered by the other ingredients.)

And the egg was just as it should be. Sheer bliss.

** I like the brown crunchy bits out of the frying pan too. And the roasting dish. In this I am like that great Discworld character, Sam Vimes 🙂

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About alison

Uni lecturer (& ex-school teacher); involvement in NCEA standards & NZ curriculum development; keen blogger & general science communicator. In 2010 I won a national (NZ) Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award & through this became a member of the Ako Aotearoa Academy.

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