Deirdre's Dish ~

Dishing it up, dishing it out and making life delicious ~ one day at a time

Grilled Romaine Caesar Toss May 20, 2012

Sometimes you find the coolest things in the most unlikely places ~ such as this Grilled Caesar Salad recipe that I came across in the magazine section of The New York Times. (The preparation is much easier to tackle than taking on the Crossword Puzzle.) Considering Memorial Day is around the corner kicking off the season of “grilling and chilling” this is the perfect side to toss into your weekend menu. I added a couple of hard boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes and grilled bread (torn into bite size pieces) to make the dish a bit more colorful and substantial. Another option is to top with Rotisserie Chicken or Albacore Tuna and call it a light Sunday night supper after a relaxing day on the links, at the beach or by the pool.

Grilled Caesar Salad
For the dressing:
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
4 anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced
3 egg yolks
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon lime zest
1 lime, juiced, approximately 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the salad:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 heads romaine lettuce, tops and bottoms trimmed neatly, the heads cut lengthwise into quarters
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

1. Make the Caesar dressing. Put the minced garlic into a medium bowl, and add the minced anchovies. Using a whisk, mix and mash these ingredients together until they form a paste. Add the egg yolks and the mustard, and begin to whisk them with the paste. Add a small stream of olive oil while continuing to whisk. Add more olive oil, whisking all the while, until the dressing begins to emulsify. Add the Worcestershire sauce, and continue to whisk until the dressing achieves a mayonnaiselike consistency. Add the red-wine vinegar, whisk to combine, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Make the vinaigrette. Combine the lime zest, lime juice, balsamic vinegar and oil in another small bowl, and whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. Make the salad. Drizzle the olive oil over the quartered heads of lettuce. Lightly grill these over a low fire for 15 to 20 seconds on each side, until they have a light goldenness, and remove to a platter. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, paint the Caesar dressing over the lettuce, making sure to get dressing between the leaves. Return lettuces to edges of grill, sprinkle with Parmesan and cover for 30 seconds to allow the cheese to soften and toast. Remove lettuce to a platter, and drizzle with lime vinaigrette. Serve two pieces each, alongside a steak. Serves 4. Adapted from Alan Ashkinaze, Millesime, New York.

Originally published with Grilled Caesar Salad
By SAM SIFTON, May 20, 2012


I Love Lidia ~ Recipe for Chicken with Green Olives and Pine Nuts May 16, 2012

I was recently at a fundraiser at which one of television’s most-loved chefs, best-selling cookbook author and restaurateur –  LIDIA BASTIANICH –  was the honored guest and feature speaker. While chatting with the “First Lady of Italian Cuisine” I was delighted to discover she was indeed the “real deal” and came across as direct and delicious as her recipes.  Her passion for cooking, comfort, and all things “La Familia” was evident in every word she spoke, and by the end of the evening I felt like we were true friends. I have prepared many of her famed recipes and continually reference one chicken dish as my all-time favorite when looking to serve family style comfort food that’s simple and flavorful and epitomizes all things “Lidia!”

Buon Appetito!


3 to 4 pounds assorted chicken pieces, cut-up
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
1 cup brine-cured green Italian olives
½ cup white wine
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted


Rinse the chicken pieces, and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off excess skin and all visible fat. Cut drumsticks off the thighs; cut breast halves into two pieces each. Season the chicken all over with the salt.

Put the olive oil and butter in the pan, and set over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted and hot, lay in the chicken pieces, skin side down, in a single layer; drop the garlic cloves and bay leaves in the spaces between them.

Cover the pan, and let the chicken cook over gentle heat, browning slowly and releasing its fat and juices. After about 10 minutes, uncover the pan, turn the pieces, and move them around the pan to cook evenly, then replace the cover. Turn again in 10 minutes or so, and continue cooking covered.

While the chicken is browning, pit the olives (if they still have pits in them). If you’re using small olives like Castelvetrano, use a pitter and keep them whole. If you have larger olives (such as Ascolane or Cerignola), smash them with the blade of a chef’s knife to remove the pits, and break them into coarse chunks.

After the chicken has cooked for 30 minutes, scatter the olives onto the pan bottom, around the chicken, and pour in the wine. Raise the heat so the liquid is bubbling, cover, and cook, gradually concentrating the juices, for about 5 minutes.

Remove the lid, and cook uncovered, evaporating the pan juices, occasionally turning the chicken pieces and olives. If there is a lot of fat in the bottom of the pan, tilt the skillet and spoon off the fat from one side.

Scatter the pine nuts around the chicken, and continue cooking uncovered, turning the chicken over gently until the pan juices thicken and coat the meat like a glaze.

Turn off the heat, and serve the chicken right from the skillet, or heap the pieces on a platter or in a shallow serving bowl. Spoon out any sauce and pine nuts left in the pan, and drizzle over the chicken.


Not Your Every Day Meatloaf! May 6, 2012

Meatloaf, a popular dish among the budget minded, blue-collar sect of the 60s and 70s, was traditionally considered a weekday meal and not something you would break out the fine china and serve as Sunday dinner. This however, is not your every day meatloaf. My dear friend, Food Editor at The Record, and fellow blogger (see Susan Leigh Sherrill shared this amazing Italian Meatloaf recipe with me a few years back, and I have deemed it worthy of Sunday dinner status. The combination of meats and layering of ingredients creates an interesting and delightful alternative to “traditional meatloaf” and the Italian seasonings pack a far more powerful punch than the standard ketchup, mustard and onion components.

Note: You can play around with a few of the ingredients and swap out the Mozzarella with Smoked Gouda or add fresh oregano instead of parsley. Any way you spice it or slice it, this is not your Every Day Meat Loaf!


ITALIAN MEAT LOAF (Makes 12 to 15 servings)
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
5 small cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 cups fresh bread crumbs
1 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons Italian seasonings
1/2 teaspoon salt
Several grindings of black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup dry red wine or beef broth
2 cups fresh basil leaves
4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
1 pound smoked mozzarella, thinly sliced
1. Combine the ground beef, sausage, onion, garlic, bread crumbs, parsley, Italian seasonings, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the eggs, tomato juice and wine; mix thoroughly.
2. Lay out 1 large sheet of wax paper. Spread the meat loaf mixture into a 12-by-15-inch rectangle on the paper. Arrange the basil leaves over the surface. Scatter the sun-dried tomatoes over the basil and arrange three-fourths of the cheese on top.
3. Using the wax paper as an aid and starting from one short side, roll up the meat like a jelly roll. Peel back the paper as you roll. Press on the meat loaf lightly to seal and place in a jelly-roll pan or the bottom of a broiling pan that has been lined with foil.
4. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven 1 hour 10 minutes. Place the remaining slices of cheese on top and continue baking 10 minutes longer. The meat loaf can be served hot or cold. Let sit 10 minutes before slicing.

From “The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook”



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