Sunday, June 1, 2014

Caesar Salad with Aioli and Garlicky Prawns

Ahhh, homey, delicious, slightly decadent but actually really healthy. Does a meal get any better than that?

My man loves caesar salads, and he loves shrimp. So what better way to make his day when he's had an extra long one than to serve him a crisp caesar with homemade dressing and some garlic sauteed shrimp on top. I love it because it's relatively quick and easy. He's super appreciative of the homemade croutons and aioli. And the fact that it's mainly lettuce means that we eating a very healthy meal that is gourmet without any fancy sauces!

Making aioli (or homemade mayonnaise) is really easy once you follow these key steps:
  1. Chill your metal bowl and whisk in the freezer for 30 minutes prior to using
  2. Place a dish cloth on the counter and use it to rest the bowl when whisking
  3. Drop the oil in the aioli using a tablespoon, at least for the first 1/4 cup of oil
Trust me, this is virtually a foolproof recipe and will make you and your diners so happy that you'll be thrilled to realize how easy it is to make, because they will be begging for more!

Homemade croutons are also simple, and with the salad as your main dish, really worth making. You can use the same pan to make the shrimp in after sauteing the croutons; so much less to clean up!

Don't be intimidated by the length of the instructions, this is really a quick meal to put together. Once you master the aioli (which takes only one to two attempts), you'll love making this meal.

Caesar Salad with Aioli and Garlicky Prawns
(serves 2 as an entree)

10 large Prawns, shelled and deveined
2 cups cubed bread, such as french baguette or a crusty Italian loaf
6 cloves garlic, minced and divided
1 small head of Romaine lettuce, washed and cut in bite size pieces
1/2 cup hard cheese (Asiago, Parmesan, Pecorino Romano) shredded
olive oil for frying

2 egg yolks
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil (or a combination with a neutral oil such as sunflower or grapeseed)
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
juice from 1/2 lemon

Heat cast iron skillet over low heat for 5 minutes. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan and add half of the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes until you can small it but do not let it brown. Add in the cubed bread and toss to coat with the oil. Fry bread on two sides to achieve a light brown crust and then remove from the pan into a bowl, scraping up the garlic bits and adding to the bowl with the croutons.

To make the aioli, mash the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle or in the bowl you plan to make the aioli in, mashing it into a paste. Add egg yolks and whip with a whisk well to combine well. Using a tablespoon as a dropper, begin whisking in the oil drop by drop to emulsify the aioli. When you have added half of the oil, add the white wine vinegar and whisk in well. Add the remaining oil, dry mustard and lemon juice to taste. You can add the oil in more quickly with the second half of it, making sure to whisk it full in before adding more. Chill for best results.

Place lettuce in large salad bowl and toss with the croutons and aioli. Add cheese after you tossed salad since it will gum up the dressing. Place on dinner plates.

Wipe out the pan you made the croutons, and heat over medium high heat for a few minutes. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan and add the remaining garlic and saute for 1 minute until you can smell it. Add the shrimp and cook on high heat until they turn pink and curl up. Place five on top of each mound of salad and scrape garlic over the top and serve immediately.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Taco Stuffed Baked Potatoes at Spabettie
Tuna, White Bean and Kale Soup at Closet Cooking
Greek Mac and Cheese at Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

No comments: