Category Archives: Parmesan

Recipe: Caesar Salad Dressing

a jar of Caesar salad dressing
a jar of Ceasar salad dressing

Ingredients;

3/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2/3 cup of milk
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 level teaspoon smooth French mustard
1 anchovy fillet, minced

Makes approx 300ml

Line

Caesar salad dressing has gotten a bad reputation in the last few years as being extremely fattening. In truth it is quite fattening but part of the reason that it has earned this reputation is actually nothing to do with the dressing itself and more to do with fast food chains and the eaters’ own lack of self control, or more precisely, lack of portion control.

So in order to restore the balance a bit and also because it’s something I like, I recently went about looking into some recipes so I could make it at home and not buy the bottled ones with god only knows what in them.

The result of roughly 6 hours of research is this recipe, there are elements of a lot of different recipes that I found online in this and one of these days I may even decide to make my own mayonnaise to remove that unknown from the recipe, in the meantime I’ll stick with a low fat mayonnaise. Oh, and if you think that makes a difference to the taste by all means use full fat but I don’t find it lacking in anyway as it is 😉

So onto the preparation, this really is easy to make, but there are a few little tips I’ll give you to make the result even better.

As with most recipes the better the quality of the ingredients, the better the result, but even more so when it comes to salads and dressings. If you can get your hands on a more mature Parmesan cheese, do so. A good 24 or 36 month old will make a world of difference.

For the garlic, I use a garlic press and then chop the pressed garlic as finely as possible, there is nothing worse than the look on a guest’s face if they get a lump of fresh garlic in their salad. It’s only momentary but best avoided!

The anchovy can be equally as strong as the garlic, so I’ll go back and forth across it with a knife until it’s all stuck to the blade then scrape it off and repeat at least two or three times. The rest of the recipe is so quick it’s worth spending at least five minutes on both the garlic and anchovy to avoid “the face”!

Now once you have all the ingredients prepared, just mix everything (except the milk) together well then add the milk slowly until you get the consistency you prefer.

Pour this into a sterilised glass jar or bottle and store it in your fridge until you’re ready to use it. It should keep in the fridge for 2 weeks, just remember to shake the jar well before using it.

Recipe: Clearing out the bits salad

Clearing out the bits Salad
Clearing out the bits Salad

Ingredients;

4 romain lettuce leaves
2 slices of chorizo
Small handful of mangetout
Small handful of sweetcorn
Some fresh thyme
Some fresh mint leaves
Small handful of dry roasted onion
Parmesan cheese
Vinaigrette dressing

Serves 1

Line

This isn’t so much a recipe as a way of thinking, the ingredients are completely flexible, depending on what you have available. So to start with, have a look in your fridge, presses and the garden (if you grow your own) to see what’s available.

In my case, there were some romain leaves, chorizo, parmesan, sweetcorn and mangetout in the fridge. Some dry roasted onion and vinaigrette dressing in the press and finally some fresh thyme and mint in the garden.

Once you’ve assembled your ingredients simply tear the romain leaves and chorizo slices onto a plate or salad bowl. Next, throw the mangetout over the top and scatter some sweetcorn.

Then finely chop the mint leaves and pick the thyme leaves, then sprinkle over the top. Take a few very fine slices of parmesan and crumble them over the rest. Sprinkle some dry roasted onions over and finally, drizzle some vinagarette over the lot to finish.

If you don’t have any vinegarette made up, simply drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the salad to dress it.

It’s a great way to use up those odds and ends before they go off.

In the past I’ve used peppers, ham, chicken, turkey, salami, beansprouts, tomatoes and all manner of fresh herbs just because they were there. One of my favourite herb combinations I discovered by accident while making a salad in this way, fennel and mint, try it with a lemon or lime juice vinaigrette 😉

Recipe: Pan Fried Asparagus and Prawns

Pan fried Asparagus and prawns
Pan fried Asparagus and prawns

Ingredients;

200g packet of asparagus tips
100g king/tiger prawns
knob butter
15g parmesan, grated finely
balsamic vinegar

Serves 1

Line

In a small frying pan, add about 2cm deep of water and bring to the boil. Add the asparagus tips and cook for 2 mins.

Drain the water from the pan and add the butter. Once melted, add the prawns to the asparagus and butter, and cook for 2-3 mins max. Overcooked prawns will be tough and chewy and not very nice.

Once cooked, place on a heated plate and top with the parmesan and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and eat immediately.

Recipe: Chicken in Creamy Pesto Sauce

Chicken in Creamy Pesto Sauce
Chicken in Creamy Pesto Sauce

Ingredients;

1 chicken breast
2 heaped teaspoons of fresh pesto
4 tablespoons of fresh cream
1 handful of freshly grated parmesan
Fresh Pasta for 2
Olive oil
Extra Virgin olive oil

Serves 2

Line

Take your chicken breast, remove the skin and trim off any fat. Then dice it into 1 inch cubes. Take the fresh pesto and in a small bowl mix in the cream.

Prepare your pasta and get the water in your saucepan to heat for cooking the pasta, but do not put the pasta on yet.

While waiting for your pasta pot to get up to a boil, gently fry the chicken in a little olive oil until the meat just starts to brown. Next add in the pesto and cream and stir the lot together. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting possible and get you pasta on to cook.

As soon as the pasta is ready, drain it and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil (or a truffle oil, for extra flavour) and stir the chicken and creamy pesto into the pasta.

Serve with some freshly grated Parmesan for a very quick and tasty meal.

Recipe: Risotto

Risotto
Risotto

Ingredients;

1 large onion finely diced
1 sweet red pepper finely diced
2 sticks of celery finely diced
2 cloves of garlic finely diced
butter
olive oil
250g risotto rice
2 vegetable stock cubes, mixed with 1.5l boiling water
handful of parmesan finely grated

Serves 4

Line

Begin by chopping the vegetables as finely as you can. You can use a julienne peeler on the carrot and then cut across the strips for very fine dice.

In a very large saucepan or stewpot, melt a knob of butter with a lug of olive oil. Throw in your vegetables and fry softly on a medium heat for 15-20 mins, until the vegetables soften. The onions should not take on any colour, so don’t have your heat up full whack.

Once the veg is soft, place 2 stock cubes in another saucepan and add the boiling water. Keep this on a low simmer.

Turn the heat right up under your veg pan for 2 mins and add the risotto rice. Stir this well, and once the grains have soaked up the juice from the veg and begun to toast lightly, throw in a glass of white wine (or a good splash of vermouth). As this starts to boil off, reduce the heat again and add your first ladle of stock.

Stir it well and wait for the liquid to be absorbed. Keep the mix moving regularly, as this will encourage the grains to release their starch. Once each ladleful is absorbed, add another ladle of stock (usually about 2-3 mins apart). You should keep this pan at a simmering temperature.

After about 20 mins of adding stock and letting it soak in, taste your rice – it should be soft, with just a hint of a bite. If it’s still too hard, keep on adding the stock as needed. If you start to run out of stock, then top off the stock pan with some boiling water.

Once the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and add another knob of butter and the handful of parmesan. Stir well to mix it in, then put a lid on the pan and leave for 2-3 mins. This is when the magic happens and the mix all comes together… Taste it and add salt as pepper as desired at this point.

You can serve the risotto plain or add whatever toppings you fancy – fried bacon bits & Gorgonzola, pesto, flaked cooked salmon – as your own tastes dictate.