Caesar Salad with Shiitake Mushrooms
- SERVINGS: 4
Order a Caesar salad at a restaurant these days, and it's likely to be a whole meal, topped with chicken or shrimp. We choose meaty shiitake mushrooms here and also make another break from tradition: The eggs in the dressing are cooked, not raw.
- 8 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 pound sourdough baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 quart)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 3/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 hard-cooked eggs
- 3 tablespoons wine vinegar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 small heads romaine lettuce (about 1 pound each), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips (about 5 quarts)
- In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the cubed bread, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and stir to coat the bread with the oil. Sauté the bread until crisp and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in half the garlic. Transfer to a large salad bowl.
- In the same pan, heat the cooking oil over moderately high heat. Add the mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add half the remaining garlic and the parsley and cook, stirring, for 1 minute longer. Add the mushrooms to the croutons.
- Put the eggs, vinegar, anchovy paste, and the remaining garlic, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 5 tablespoons olive oil in a blender or food processor and whir until smooth. Add the lettuce to the mushrooms and croutons, sprinkle with Parmesan, and then add the dressing. Toss to coat.
Because sparkling wines have surprisingly high acidity, a nonvintage brut Champagne will go well with this salad, matching the vinegar in the dressing and cutting the Parmesan's richness.