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Nov 2, 2006 02:38 PM

Salad Challenge

Hi -- here's my situation. I've been charged with the responsibility of providing a salad for a dinner party, and they requested a Ceaser. I'd like to make something a little less pedestrian and more interesting. Ceasers are great and all, but if I'm making something I want it to be fun, and different. I have some ideas, but can anyone suggest some salad/dressing ideas that would match with an Italian/Medditerranean meal? One thing I'm thinking of doing is making a parmesan bowl made from crisped parmesan and formed in a small serving bowl. Thanks in advance.

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  1. You could make a panzanella version of caesar... I think that would be awesome and would definitely go with the Italian theme!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Katie Nell

      How do you mean that -Panzanella version? Since croutons are part of it's make-up, I mean. Tomatoes added?

      1. re: oakjoan

        I'm not sure if it's traditional or not, but Michael Chiarello has four versions of panzanella, one for each of the seasons. The autumn version adds mushrooms, red onions, etc., but essentially, I just meant heavy on the croutons.

    2. My mother used to occasionally serve her Caesar by giving everyone a small ramekin of dressing and 8-10 smaller leaves from the hearts of several heads of romaine standing up in a small glass. You dipped a leaf into the dressing and then ate it by hand. The dressing had crumbled croutons mixed in and fresh parmigiana grated on top. Always a fun, alternative way of eating a Caesar.

      1. you might consider making the finest caesar known to man.

        make it special in the following way: make your own croutons with great bread, fresh garlic, good olive oil/butter. add Frico!! use super fresh Romaine. make the dressing with anchovy! (martha had a good recipe a few years ago - raw egg yolk, anchovy, the real deal).

        Or, if you must be different, make a mediteranean chopped salad with diced high-quality cukes (find middle eastern cukes if you can! they are smaller and downright fragrant), tomato, parsley, toasted pita, black olives, feta and a super lemony dressing (for recipes to work from, look up "fatoosh").

        Lastly, a humble parsley salad. Loads of blazing-fresh flat leaf parsley, perhaps a stalk of celery or fennel shaved on the bias. with a viniagrette composed of fruity olive oil, smashed capers, a whisper of garlic, sugar or honey, lemon juice and lemon peel. garnish with fried capers and teeny crisp croutons.

        1. Best salad with italian ingredients, eaten on the terrace on holiday in Sicily.

          leaves dressed in lemon and olive oil dressing, torn prosciutto and mozzarella and segmented peeled peaches, chiffonade of mint over. Yum.

          It's a bit fancy. And a bit costly if you're doing it for lots of people. And it's seasonal. But, it is good!

          It's more of a lunch in it's own right than a side dish though!

          Otherwise I fall back on tomato and finely sliced shallot dressed with salt, pepper and some malt, wine or sherry vinegar. And a rocket salad dressed with balsamic, salt, pepper, olive oil served with shaved parmesan.

          You could always antipasti it some more with roasted red/yellow peppers finely sliced with a garlic and oil dressing. Maybe serve around a plate with some roasted artichokes in the centre. Not really a salad, more of a side.

          1. Those all sound awesome. Thanks very much for the ideas, it was really helpful.