Don't let the idea of garlic wrapped in anchovies scare you. By soaking the fish in milk, then cooking the garlic in milk until meltingly tender, it mellows both of these potent ingredients bringing together a sweet harmony and balance of flavors that belong together. Honestly, I am not a big fan of raw garlic because it many times keeps me from being able to enjoy the rest of my dinner. - thirschfeld —thirschfeld
Test Kitchen Notes
Making and eating this salad affords a number of unique pleasures. Creaming the softened garlic as thirschfeld says a barber might sharpen "an old time straight razor on a leather strap" was immensely satisfying. The cheesy, buttery breadcrumbs that you sprinkle on top of the salad are a delight, and an unexpected twist on the traditional crouton. The dressing is creamy and bright with lemon. And what of the anchovy-wrapped garlic? True to the description, they're much more mild than they might appear at first blush, and the salty hit you get from the anchovy is nice when mingled with bites of salad (though the garlic is so mild that I'm not sure I really noticed its flavor). I do have one note: I was bringing water to a boil to heat the sabayon in a double-boiler fashion when I reread the instructions and saw that thirschfeld indicates you should place the mixing bowl directly on the stove. This sounded risky to me (won't the egg yolks cook too fast?), but I followed the directions verbatim, and it worked swimmingly. I'm not sure if this is in fact what thirschfeld intended, but it worked out, and the dressing came together quite nicely! All in all, a fun, fancy spin on the classic Caesar! - arielleclementine
- Serves 4
romaine hearts, outer leaves removed until you have a 5 to 6 inch romaine head
garlic cloves, peeled
anchovy filets, packed in oil
fresh lemon juice
oil from the can of anchovies
safflower or other neutral flavored oil
bread crumbs, browned in 1 tablespoon of butter
parmesan, finely grated
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- Place the anchovies in a shallow tray and add some milk to cover them.
- Place a small sauce pan over medium heat and add the garlic cloves and milk to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the cloves are very tender but not mushy, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Line a plate with a paper towel and place the anchovies, in a single layer, on the towel and let them drain. Remove the garlic from the pan and if there is a milk film on them rinse them under water to clean them. Place them on the paper towel with the anchovies.
- Take one of the garlic cloves and place it on a cutting board. Using the flat side of your chefs knife smash it and then cream it using the knife like you were sharpening an old time straight razor on a leather strap. In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the creamed garlic, egg yolks, anchovy oil, lemon juice, zest and mix with a whisk adding a pinch of salt and white pepper. Add a teaspoon of warm water.
- Place the mixing bowl over low heat and whisk. Do not stop whisking until the yolks start to leave ribbons as you whisk. Be careful not to make scrambled eggs. Remove from the heat immediately and place the bowl on a wet towel that is set on the counter, the towel will keep you from chasing your bowl around the counter as you whisk. Slowly drizzle a drop or two of the safflower oil into the yolk mixture while continuing to whisk. Keep adding the oil a drop at a time until you have an emulsion. Once you have an emulsion you can add the oil in a thin slow stream while whisking.
- If the dressing is to thick add warm water by the teaspoon until you reach the desired thickness. It should be the consistency of maple syrup.
- Combine the parmesan and bread crumbs and season them with salt and pepper.
- Cut each romaine head in half. Place them attractively on a plate. Wrap each garlic clove with an anchovy. Some cloves may only use half an anchovy. Place 3 of these on each plate around the romaine.
- Drizzle a healthy portion of dressing over the romaine keeping in mind you have four salads, so divide it equally. Sprinkle with parmesan breadcrumbs and serve.