Little gem, candied walnuts and Caesar dressing

Little gem, candied walnuts and Caesar dressing

By
From
Spring
Serves
4-6
Photographer
Andy Sewell

There is nothing better than a really good Caesar salad. At its finest, it’s a simple, beautiful combination of ingredients, laced and stitched together by an unctuous dressing. The dressing is easy enough to get right but so often very disappointing – the trick is to use the best possible ingredients. I like to serve this salad with bruschetta, placed on the middle of the table, for everyone to mop up all the wonderful flavours.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 heads little gem lettuce
a small piece parmesan
a small bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, leaves only
a small bunch chives, very finely chopped

For the Caesar dressing

Quantity Ingredient
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
3 good quality anchovies
1 organic free-range egg yolk
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
200ml mild-tasting extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
A splash warm water

For the candied walnuts

Quantity Ingredient
150g shelled walnuts
100g granulated sugar
a good pinch sea salt

Method

  1. First prepare the candied walnuts. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lay the walnut halves on a baking tray and toast on the middle shelf of the oven for a couple of minutes, being careful that they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. Tip the sugar into a small heavy-based pan, place over a medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts and begins to colour. Cook for a minute or so, until the sugar syrup is a warm amber colour. Add the nuts and stir to coat the nuts in the syrup. Remove from the heat and spread out on a tray lined with baking parchment to cool. Sprinkle with salt and set aside until ready to use.
  3. For the dressing, put the garlic, mustard powder, anchovies, egg yolk, lemon juice and Parmesan into a food processor and blitz for a few seconds to combine, then with the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil through the funnel. (It’s important that you do this as slowly as possible to ensure that the dressing doesn’t curdle.) Transfer to a bowl and stir in the crème fraîche. Thin to a pouring consistency with a little warm water.
  4. Separate the lettuce leaves, leaving them whole. Wash and pat dry, then arrange attractively in individual bowls or on a large platter. Spoon over the dressing, then shave some Parmesan over the salad. Scatter over the candied nuts and finish with the chopped parsley and chives. Serve at once.
Tags:
Skye Gyngell
seasonal
Spring
London
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