Summer just entered the northeast like a Labrador Retriever enters a room. We saw it coming, the first rainbow, a streak of blue bird across the fence line, peepers, dandelions. Its arrival was a shock none-the-less, clumsy and awkward and messy; a lot of scrambling involved still planting onions while protecting the spinach from bolting. A long day in the sun makes for a fickle appetite. A glass of May Wine can go straight to my head. The winter pantry is gone, and the bounty of high summer is over a month away. A Caesar salad, or a rif on Caesar salad using baby romaine and wild ramps, feels just right. Seasonal food tends to do that. Best enjoyed during a thunderstorm.
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil and 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3-4 white bulbs of wild ramps. (Hang onto the green portion for another recipe!)
- 1 T lemon juice
- 1 egg yolk
- 0-6 anchovies
- splash Worcestershire Sauce
- half a loaf of stale bread (something hearty), cut or torn into big bites
- baby romaine and red leaf lettuces
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- salt and pepper
Mince the white bulb portion of the ramps and combine in a small sauce pan with a few tablespoons of the olive oil. Heat gently on low heat, just until you hear a first sizzle. You are infusing the olive oil. Remove and strain oil into a bowl, keeping the minced ramps to add to the dressing. Add bread cubes to the oil and toss to coat. Add a couple spoons of parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and toss again. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes until croutons are lightly browned all over. Toss with a bit more parmesan and set aside to cool.
For the dressing, combine the egg yolk, lemon juice, anchovies, ramps, Worcestershire, and the rest of the parmesan in blender or food processor. While running the blender or processor, slowly add in canola oil until smooth. Transfer mixture to a bowl and slowly drizzle in remaining about 1/4 cup of the remaining olive oil, whisking as you go. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Finally, toss your lettuces with the dressing to coat. Add remaining parmesan and croutons, toss and serve. Leftover dressing will keep in a jar in the fridge for a week.