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A salad that will wow them

Here’s a first course that is sure to wow just about anyone: who doesn’t love a good Caesar salad? The intention of a first course is to open your taste buds with some spice, and to set the mood for the rest of the dinner. This Caesar salad recipe is full of amazing flavours: the anchovy gives it its necessary body, while the capers add a ‘je ne sais quoi’ of earthy flavor. We use canola oil because it’s neutral in flavor, where olive oil can overpower the dressing.  Use a very fresh egg, as that will take away any concern about consuming raw egg. Finally, real, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano will make this salad.

You’ll notice that we have neither bacon or crouton’s happening here; instead we’ve souped up the salad by adding some grilled shrimp. We get the ‘E-Z Peel’ shrimp from T&J Seafoods in Kitchener. That means they are de-veined, but still have their shell on so that when you cook them they stay nice and moist. The parsley tends to get slightly charred, and the lemon juice just sings with these shrimp.

‘Tableside’ Caesar Salad with Lemon Grilled Shrimp Serves 4-6

  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, cleaned and torn
  • 2 (or more) cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 anchovy fillets or 1 tbsp anchovy paste
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Dash Tabasco sauce
  • Dash L&P sauce
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup canola or olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon, or to taste
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, to garnish

With two forks, cut and smash the garlic with the salt in a large bowl (preferably wooden);

Add anchovies and capers and mince with fork;

Add pepper, Dijon mustard, egg yolk, Tabasco, L&P, and red wine vinegar;

Whisk together, then slowly add oil, beginning with a few drops at a time, and then adding in a slow, steady stream;

Finish with the fresh lemon juice, then toss with the romaine lettuce;

Place salad equally on 4-6 plates; top each plate with shrimp and shave or grate Parmigiano-Reggiano on top.

Lemon Grilled Shrimp Serves 4-6

  • 12-18 large (16/20 count) shrimp, deveined, not peeled
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp grape oil
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

Toss shrimp well with the lemon zest, juice, oil, pepper, salt and parsley;

Place on a pre-heated hot grill or grill pan;

Cook, slightly charring the outside for about 2 minutes each side, or until they just turn opaque;

To remove shells, simply peel back one side, then the other, and then pull off the shell.

Chefs Kirstie Herbstreit and Jody O’Malley are both Red Seal certified chefs. Together they run the company YouCanCook2, specializing in interactive dinner parties. You can also find them cooking at Entertaining Elements in St. Jacobs, where they hold private dinners for eight people. To contact the chefs, visit their website www.youcancook2.com.

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