Monday, January 18, 2010

Garlic Parmesan Croutons, My Beyoncé Imitation, and How Did Cesar's Salad Become Caesar Salad?

There may not seem to be much rhyme or reason to the video selection these days, but there's a good reason for that. As I've alluded to in previous posts, for the next couple months I'll be basically cooking only recipes that appear in the cookbook.

When I have a chance to turn on the video recorder, I will, and this crouton how-to is an example. During normal times I'd probably not wake up inspired to film croutons, but hey, it's better than another talking plate clip from YouTube.

In addition to what may be a useful recipe for some number of you, you'll get my first and last Beyonce tribute. Sources deep within the music industry tipped me off she was planning a parody of my chicken wing video, so I wanted to strike the first blow.

Speaking of blow, virtually a
ll salad dressing historians claim Caesar salad was invented in 1924 by Cesar Cardini in Tijuana, Mexico. It doesn’t appear on any written menus or cookbooks until decades later, and when it does, it’s called the “Caesar.”

What happened? I realize the inventors name, Cesar, is Spanish for the Latin, Caesar, but so what? The salad was invented by a Cesar, not Caesar. It’s not like it was changed to make it easier to say, or to Americanize it. Anyone have any ideas?

While you're pondering that one, why not head over to my American Foods site where I've posted my version of Caesar salad dressing, and the same recipe that will go into the book. Any thoughts or corrections would be greatly appreciated. Enjoy!




Crouton Ingredients:
4 cloves garlic, minced very fine
1/2 cup olive oil
1 (8-ounce) loaf French baguette or similar style bread (for best results, use day old bread)
3/4 cup finely grated "real" Parmesan cheese (sold as Parmigiano-Reggiano)
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne

21 comments:

KrisD said...

CJ, The croutons look AWESOME, I can almost smell them!

I hope I can ask a few questions about the C(a)esar Dressing? (I am just foraging into homemade salad dressings...)

What would the coddled eggs look like if done correctly? Are the whites at all set? (I know you don't use the whites, just curious)

What purpose does the coddling for such a brief time have? Is it just to comfort raw-egg-phobic people? If I am confident that my eggs are A1, can I skip this?

Thanks!

pandora said...

like it!!!

Chef John said...

yes, you can skip the coddle, I was just coddling the cookbook readers

Chris K. said...

If you liked it then you shoulda put a wing on it...

Croutons: instead of paprika or cayenne, try using pimentón. It's like paprika, only with a strong pimp hand.

There's strong evidence that the original dressing did not contain anchovies, so traditionalists may want to omit them. However, it's MUCH better with anchovy.

As for the name: I think it simply got corrupted by word-of-mouth. Plus, as a chef pushing a new salad on your customers, you'd get more mileage out of a reference to a Roman emperor than some hombre in Tijuana, wouldn't you? But that's just conjecture on my part.

Chef John said...

lol, "put a wing.." Great comment except for "strong pimp hand" Come on, we run a family blog here! ;-)

Birde said...

All that garlic you wind up not using for the recipe, what do you do with it?

I'm guessing the reason you did you include all the garlic is that it would burn?

It's just so tragic to me to not use up garlic to the full extent of its presence.

Thanks for the great-looking crouton recipe!

Basia said...

I've been looking for a recipe forever. I recall having "Caesar salad" prepared at table side several times - and I miss that! Also steak tartare!!! The croutons rock! Now - forget the coddling, mash those anchovies, and get real, folks!

Handy said...

sounds good going to try it

Caroline@BudgetMeals said...

My husband hates croutons, but I love them... I think I will have to make these! And I will just have to eat his (More for me!)

CorinneCanCraft said...

Now every time I hear that song I shall think of Croutons! Thank you for yet another inspiring, easy to follow video

averagebetty said...

Mmm... the croutons look delicious, Chef John! Very crispity, crunchity. Very much unlike a certain bag of popcorn I know...

The Teacher Cooks said...

First time visiting your blog. How lucky am I? I needed a crouton recipe for company this weekend. By the way your blog is fantastic!!

former english major said...

Chef, really enjoy your site & am happy to see you start to get some of the recognition you deserve. However, that word in the 2nd sentence really should be "alluded". Please continue your good work & I'll continue proofreading.

Chef John said...

thanks!!

Tiffany said...

What if we don't have chest hair to show? =(

About how long you can store these before they go bad?

Catarina said...

Nice recipe chef. What about a tomato soup recipe to go with the croutons? That would be lovely.

Love from Portugal.

susie_08_01 said...

I've never posted a comment before, but I had to say thanks. My family loved these croutons! I make them with the left over bread I make. They are great!

Ruby said...

These are so easy,so so lovely and make any boring salad so much livelier! My friends and family love them too! Thank you very much for the recipe! With love from England :)

Meagan said...

How long do these keep? I've been making them for months and now my kids prefer them to potatoe chips. Just wondering at room temp how long they might keep?
Thanks!

intxaurtsu said...

Even if it is the first time I leave you a massage, it's a long time that I follow you, and today I have to say that your croutons have worked greatly in my last night salad, it was a big success!!!! Regards from Spain

dnr mom said...

this is awesome--so much easier than cooking in a saute pan. the house smells great and i have extra garlic for pizza!!