You may know Carolyn Cope as Umami Girl. She stops by on Tuesdays with ideas on preparing fruits and vegetables. —The Mgmt.
Last week I decided that St. Patrick's Day trumped the Ides of March in the food holiday hierarchy, so I gave you a recipe for cabbage. But the more I think about it, and the more I start to lust after spring vegetables, the more I'm not so sure about the pecking order. The thing is, when you've got a jar of homemade Caesar dressing in the fridge, there's nothing in the world you can't handle. Well, OK, there might be a few things, like a betrayal by your best friend or an embarrassing toga malfunction, but none of those things will be coming from your crisper. Trust me.
Sure, I know that Caesar salad was most likely invented by Caesar Cardini in Tijuana in the mid-1900s and definitely does not hail from the Roman empire, but that doesn't stop me from craving a big bowl of savory, crunchy goodness every year on March 15. And that little association is more than just a brain fart. In fact, it's more of a survival strategy.
We're about to embark on another year of vegetal abundance together. In the coming weeks, depending on where you live, you may already have your pick of a variety of spring produce. At first we'll be joyous and thankful for the multitude of it all. We'll hardly believe we lived all winter without such variety. We'll be bursting with ideas on what to do with the bounty.
But one day a few months after that, hard as it may be to imagine right now, we'll feel like our crispers have banded together to take over the world. And that's when we'll need to remember about the jar of Caesar. The one we'll whip up in a flash and keep in our fridges to pour over the advancing ranks of tomatoes and lettuces, kale and kohlrabi. The one that will mean we never have to throw away fridges full of uneaten greens or flee our overgrown homes in the middle of the night. The one that will convince you that "Caesar" is a verb—an action verb.
We'll be glad we had this little chat. You'll see.
Jar of Caesar
- 1 large garlic clove
- 5 anchovy fillets
- 1 very fresh egg yolk (or substitute 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup good-quality extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- Lots of freshly ground black pepper
- Shaved or grated parmesan cheese
Add the egg yolk, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to the jar. Tightly close the lid and shake, shake, shake to emulsify. Serve as a salad dressing, dip or sauce for spring vegetables, with parmesan cheese shaved or grated overtop. Keeps for a week in the fridge.