Three helpings, I don’t eat salad caesar

Last Friday, the farmer’s market at our hospital hosted field trips from 1st graders, third graders, and then 33 juniors from an Oakland High School environmental sciences and physiology class. Being one of the most diverse cities in America, the conversations at the market covered many different cuisines. We discussed an option for potatoes other than mashing or frying them. It’s been a long time since I have hung around young people this age and was amazed that about fifteen of them were willing to listen to me talk about roasting red potatoes with fennel and onions. Colleagues and I then fed them lunch in our hospital’s garden area while we talked about organic foods and the challenges of growing them. They also had a chance to talk with various health professionals about their work. I asked my colleagues to simply share what they found exciting everyday about their jobs and what kind of training was needed post high school for their particular profession. I believe I will see one young man someday back at Kaiser Oakland as an RN in a critical care area. For me, the best part of the day was having a tall, strong, and beautiful young man come back for his third big helping of Caesar salad, look at me, and say “I don’t eat salad”. One step at a time. Here’s the recipe ----- actually easy to do for about 50 servings. We’ve got another high school class coming to the market and for lunch in three weeks. Does anyone out there have other lunch menu ideas using spring market ingredients for that event?

Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 heads of romaine, chopped into big pieces, washed, drained, and chilled
  • 2 ounces parmesan, coarsely grated
  • Dressing
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, or a combination
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 squeezes anchovy paste, maybe 3” worth
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon capers, rinsed and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan (optional)
  • 6 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Croutons
  • Enough crusty bread to make about 3 cups of ½ inch cubes. Day old bread works better than fresh
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed, and minced
  • Kosher salt

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Add the garlic to the oil in a small bowl and let sit while you make the rest of the salad. Toss the bread cubes in a large bowl with the garlic and olive oil and a little salt until coated with oil. Spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until crispy and browned. (I sometimes grate a little extra parmesan and toss it with the hot croutons. When I do that for my family, a number of the croutons never make it into the salad.) The Salad Toss the romaine with just enough dressing to slightly coat the leaves in a big bowl. Toss with the grated parmesan and the croutons. (We served it with pan roasted chicken breasts, thickly sliced, that had been generously prepared by the local Bay Wolf Restaurant) Add the first six ingredients to a blender, food processor, or whisk well by hand. With the machine running or while whisking, add the olive oil until blended. Season with pepper. Add a little salt, more vinegar, or lemon juice if needed. The best way to taste test any dressing is to dip a lettuce leaf in and sample it. If you taste test by dipping your finger repeatedly, at least do it when no one is looking.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • (With ingredients as listed. Fat and sodium will be reduced with light application of dressing and parmesean):
  • Calories: 241
  • Fat: 20 gm
  • Saturated fat: 4 gm
  • Trans fat: 0 gm
  • Cholesterol: 6 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 11 gm
  • Fiber: 4 gm
  • Sodium: 309 mg
  • Protein: 7 gm

Contributor

Preston Maring, MD

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