The Artist, the Cook, and the Gardener (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2013), by Maryjo Koch, is a lavishly illustrated, sumptuous collection of recipes celebrating the enduring connection between art, cooking, and gardening. Divided into four chapters and inspired by the seasons, artists, cooks, and gardeners alike will find tips, recipes, and painting projects centered on seasonal food pairings. The excerpt below comes from the section “Salads: The Spring Garden.”
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Caesar Salad Recipe with Lemon-Grilled Chicken
When my parents were on their honeymoon in Mexico in 1932, they discovered a restaurant that served the most delicious salad. My mom, who was a very good cook, asked the chef-restaurateur, Caesar Cardini, for the recipe, which he graciously gave. For years to come, my mom made this salad for us when we were growing up, and I have continued making it for my own family and students using this recipe. Caesar Salad, named after its creator, has become very popular and can be found in hundreds of cookbooks and restaurants with many variations. The only modification I have made since first making it is the substitution of mayonnaise for raw eggs in the dressing. I also add grilled chicken or pepper-crusted smokes salmon to make it a main-course salad.
1 large head romaine lettuce, leaves separated
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups sourdough French bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts, split into 4 halves (about 1 3/4 pounds)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 anchovy fillets, drained and finely chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Wash the lettuce and spin in a salad spinner or pat dry with a towel. Roll loosely in a dry dishtowel and place into a large plastic bag and refrigerate for several hours to crisp.
To make the croutons, heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bread cubes and cook, tossing constantly, for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the pan from the burner. Add the garlic, tossing constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove croutons from the pan and let cool.
To make the chicken, combine all the ingredients except the chicken in a 1-gallon zippertop bag or a large bowl. Add the chicken breasts and massage the marinade into the chicken with your hands. Seal the bag or, if using a bowl, cover bowl with plastic wrap. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to12 hours. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.
Place a grill pan over high heat. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and grill 5 minutes per side or until cooked through. Transfer the chicken from the pan to a cutting board and let cool. Cut each breast crosswise into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices and set them aside.
To make the dressing, in a medium bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice and zest, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce until blended. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. Stir in the garlic and anchovies and set aside.
To serve, tear the chilled lettuce leaves into bite-size pieces and place them into a large salad bowl. Add the dressing and toss well. Add the chicken slices and Parmesan cheese and gently toss again. Top with croutons and serve immediately, dividing among four individual servings.
This excerpt has been reprinted with permission of The Artist, the Cook, and the Gardener: Recipes Inspired by Painting from the Garden by Maryjo Koch, published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2013. Buy this book from our store: The Artist, the Cook, and the Gardener.