6 x medium white onions sliced in half moons
This is another one of those recipes that’s not so much a recipe as a way of creating something supremely tasty from only three ingredients plus time and some heat.
Get a large pan or saucepan onto a high heat. Allow the pan to heat fully before adding a lug of olive oil, turning the heat down and adding all the chopped onions. Stir them well until the heat has gone down in the pan and they stop sizzling.
Next cover the pan of onions and leave over a very low heat for thirty to forty five minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has disappeared. Now add a glug of a good balsamic vinegar, stir this in and leave it for ten minutes until this too has disappeared and repeat this last step again, adding more Balsamic Vinegar, stir it in well and leave over a low heat until all the liquid has evaporated.
Now you’re ready to serve, hot over a freshly cooked burger or steak; or if you allow this to cool it can be stored in a refrigerated, sterilised glass jar for about a month, to be used cold on sandwiches or salads or reheated.
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
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.
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
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 😉
Vinaigrette dressings are very quick and simple to make and this recipe is a good “standard” dressing to learn. It’s ridiculously easy and quick to make and if you store it in the fridge will keep for about a month.
The secret of a vinaigrette is simple – three parts fat to one part acid with some mustard, salt and pepper to help the emulsifying.
Get a clean and preferably sterilised glass bottle and start by putting some balsamic vinegar in, fill it about an eighth of the way up.
Then add roughly three times as much extra virgin olive oil, followed by a pinch of salt and pepper. Lastly add a little French mustard.
Now seal the bottle and shake it for about a minute. Take a small taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Now let it sit for about 10 minutes, if it starts to split into layers then add a little more mustard and repeat the process. All vinaigarettes will separate eventually but ideally you want one that stays emulsified for 10 minutes or so.
Store this in a cool dry place until you’re ready to use it. Then give the bottle a shake and drizzle lightly over your salad to serve.
The great thing about this recipe is that you can substitute so many different things, I regularly use lemon or lime juice instead of balsamic vinegar.
I’ve also been known to use some truffle oil or other flavoured extra virgin olive oils to give a little variety to the taste. It’s a great recipe to experiment with as you can come up with something that is completely unique to your tastes and preference.
I have to say I find that lemon juice really freshens the flavour of any salad and makes it something special for any occasion and in case you’re wondering it’s taken me far longer to type this recipe than it takes to make it, so have fun with it and if you find a combination you really like please let us know in the comments.