Romaine lettuce, we come here to praise ceasar

romaine lettuce

That beautiful bunch of produce came from our CSA yesterday. It’s so fresh it’s practically pulsating. I’ve been eating salads all week and yup…I’m bragging because I can. Recipes aren’t really necessary when you’ve got ingredients this perfect.

In the photo above, just to the left of the tatsoi is a perfect, gleaming head of romaine lettuce. He’s crisp and tender and tasty green. I rarely encounter a perfect head of lettuce at the market but our dedicated CSA will grow these jewels all spring and early summer.

When life gives you romaine you must make the best salad on earth…the ceasar salad. Here’s my version, which is very classic, and very Julia. I’ve made it this way for 20 years and I swear it is the best. I’m going to lay it out in steps because it’s easier that way.

Ingredients: romaine lettuce, 3 slices stale sourdough bread, olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, anchovies, an egg

1. Smash a clove of garlic and rub your salad bowl with it. Take 1/3 cup olive oil and add a smashed garlic clove to it.

2. Rub the garlic over the stale bread, brush it with olive oil, slice it into cubes, and brown them until crispy edged in a skillet over a medium flame.

3. Open the anchovies and drain them. blot them dry with a paper towel and slice them or chop them as you like. If you are timid about anchovies then chop them fine so you get the flavor but don’t really see them. I lurv (yes, I did say “lurv”) anchovies and the bigger the better as far as I’m concerned.

4. Squeeze 2 lemons or if you have an unreliable lemon supply you might use Santa Cruz Juice Co.’s lemon juice. I think it’s pretty good.

5. Grate about 1/2 cup of the parmesan.

6. Gently rip the lettuce into manageable-sized pieces. Put them in the salad bowl.

7. Add the garlic-steeped olive oil, the lemon juice, the anchovies, and a couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Crack the egg into the bowl and toss the whole lot about. Add the croutons and the parmesan and toss again.

8. Taste for seasoning and serve or be a glutton and eat the whole thing by yourself, straight from the bowl…I’m not saying I’ve ever done that (uhm…) but you definitely could.

Also appearing in the picture above are a dozen fresh eggs, a bag of spinach, a bag of baby savory greens like mustard, kale, beet (they are really good as a sweet, soft little bed for a sizzling pork chop), ramps, radishes, sorrel, and dandelion greens.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what to make with the sorrel? How about the dandelion greens? This past week at What Geeks Eat…I’ve posted about some killer tofu that I made and an avocado cucumber salad.