Hey guys, welcome back to Basics with Babish where this week we’re taking a look at salads.
An often overlooked and chagrined meal accompaniment.
But this roughage repass can be a robust, radiant, reliable side dish, or main course in and of itself.
Let’s get down to basics.
Okay, let’s start off with everything we need
to make one of my favorite salads: panzanella. Which is a kind of Italian bread salad.
So, if you don’t like salads, this is a great way to start because its loaded with bread.
We’re gonna start with ciabatta that’s been cut up into bite-size pieces, that we’re gonna
toss with Olive Oil, sprinkle freshly ground pepper, kosher salt
and make sure it’s all very well coated, before spreading out onto a baking sheet.
Parchment lining in this case is optional. Make sure that everybody is spread out and not overlapping, and laid flat.
And toast at 450 degrees for about 5 minutes.
While that’s going, let’s prepare the more salad-y parts of our salad.
We’re gonna halve a whole bunch of cherry tomatoes, cut one medium cucumber into bite size pieces,
likewise with one half of one red onion.
And about half a dozen of small balls of mozzarella.
We’re also going to julienne some basil, and put the whole thing in a bowl, give it a nice toss-y toss.
And let those flavors get to know each other.
While we make a simple vinaigrette of: olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, dijon mustard,
one small shallot, that we’re going to mince as finely as possible,
and we’re also going to grate in one clove of garlic.
Along with the requisite: salt and freshly ground pepper.
This is a fabulous all-purpose salad dressing if you
don’t use it on the panzanella salad, that’s fine. But it is entirely game changing
if you’ve only ever used the bottled stuff. So, we’re gonna add our bread,
Which we’ve allowed to cool off a bit, we want it to be just a little warm…
We’re losing a few pieces here, so let’s graduate to salad tossers. Stop giggling, that’s probably going to be said a lot in this episode!
So once you’re done tossing salad, time to get dressed.
Drizzle on what looks like a visually appropriate amount of dressing on to the
waiting salad below. Give it one final toss before plating out.
I’ve been all about putting salads on long, wide plates
nowadays, I feel like it better showcases all the beautiful ingredients than a bowl does.
But it’s really up to you. You are after all the 80s power ballad of your
tossed salad. Sorry, Chef John
For one last little bit of color and flavor
we’re going to top with some freshly torn basil and there you have it, a Panzanella Salad.
One that would make even the most stubborn carnivore grunt in unabashed pleasure.
What about if we want to make carnivorous salad? The steakhouse classic: Iceberg Wedge.
This start with browning a bunch of bacon.. Do I have your attention now? Good.
So let’s get all of our bacon nice and crisp
and drain it on paper towels.
And then next up we need to
make our dressing. Which in this case is a buttermilk blue cheese dressing.
No one said salad had to be healthy. We’re starting with
3 to 4 tablespoons of buttermilk, adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of sour cream,
and then probably a healthy quarter cup of full-fat mayo- healthy is probably the wrong word….
A generous quarter cup of full-fat mayo, along with
2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar 1 or 2 cloves of grated garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and of course the
titular ingredients. An unrestrained amount of
high quality crumbled blue cheese, try to get the stuff that comes in the block,
not the pre-crumbleed stuff.
Mix it all together: and there you have it: homemade blue cheese dressing
that will blow the literal pants off anything you ever bought in a bottle, figuratively.
Now, I’m sorry to disappoint you but this is a salad
that requires no tossing. We’re just cutting one large head
of iceberg lettuce into quarters,
chopping up our bacon, chopping up some fresh chives, and
halving some cherry tomatoes before dressing
up our iceberg wedges. Topping first with
chives, to sort of make them pop against the white dressing,
then cherry tomatoes, and of course the only reason this salad exists:
tons and tons of bacon.
There you have: an Iceberg Wedge Salad that has enough bacon
and blue cheese to make any Steakhouse blush.
Next up, how about a seminal American classic, the Caesar salad.
That actually was invited in Tijuana.
According to the original recipe, an egg is barely tempered in
boiling water for 3 minutes before plunged in an ice bath.
Next up, we’re preparing our lettuce element, which in this case is romaine.
Which is full of dirt. So we have to take great care
that that doesnt end up on our plate. First we’re going to cut it into bite size pieces,
place it in a big colander, and thoroughly rinse it. Once you are sure you have removed
all unwanted detritus from your greenery, its time to try it out on paper towels.
While also continuing to tear it into more mouth appropriate size pieces.
And now we’re making our croutons. Very much in the same way we did for Panzanella
season oil and toss your bite size bread of choice.
This time with the addition of a bit of garlic powder and toast in
your preheated oven until thoroughly golden brown.
While that’s going, time to make our dressing.
For this we are going to need a mortar and pestle.
In which we are going to grind one clove of garlic, and a few
twists of freshly ground pepper. Then we’re adding about an ounce
of freshly grated parmesan cheese, mashing into
a paste, that we are going to place into a bowl, squeeze one half
of one lemon over top, making sure to catch any seeds,
adding 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce,
and 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard, that we’re going to give an initial whisk.
Then, in a separate bowl, we’re giving our cooled and separated egg yolk a nice little preliminary whisk before
adding it to the aforementioned mixture.
We are then going to slowly drizzle in half a cup of good
quality extra virgin olive oil, while constantly whisking,
so as to create an emulsion and there you have it, Caesar dressing. Now, I know you’re wondering ‘Where are the anchovies?’
Well, there were not any anchovies in Caesar Cardini’s original recipe.
You can add one or two anchovies in the mortar and pestle stage
of preparation, if you’d like. But, for now
we’re going to stay true to the original form. In a large
bowl we are dressing and then tossing our salad,
which we are then going to dump out onto a large, wide plate.
Before topping with this salad’s 3 simple accoutrement:
our lovely homemade croutons, a generous helping of parmesan cheese- shaved into curls using a vegetable peeler,
and several twists of freshly ground black pepper.
and there you have it. Last but not least, the original Caesar salad. This of course pairs beautifully
with grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, salmon, hard-boiled eggs, that’s
really one of the beauties of salad. Once you really understand it’s core components,
you can start to add and subtract as you see fit
to make the meal of your dreams… sort of.
Thanks for watching you guys, keep an eye out in the near future
for livestreams coming to YouTube, where you can cook
along with me live
as I re-create what I made in last week’s episode of basics.
I’ll see you guys there. I’ll bring the salad if you bring the Whiskey.
Oh, those don’t pair well together? I don’t care.