I know that the title of this recipe is quite a statement but for me charred, salty, creamy ingredients perfectly put together in a dish, salads do not really get much better.
This recipe has been on the back burner for quite some time now. Who does not love a Caesar salad? But let's face it, majority of those ingredients are animal products, anchovies, eggs, cream... So faced with the challenge of try to make this dish vegan friendly I actually think I elevated it.
Think about it, smooth creamy dressing made from hummus, garlicy smoked tomatoes, buttery artichoke hearts with the slightest bit of char to add to the over all taste of the dish, briney fried capes, salty gherkins all finished off with a beautifully roasted garlic crouton.
Anyway, I have bigged this up enough, so go see for yourself, try the recipe and let me know that you've done it.
45 MINUTES. SERVES 2
1 clove garlic
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
2 tbs olive oil
handful cherry tomatoes
1 slice bread
3 artichoke hearts (from a tin or jar)
1 tbs capers (+ brine)
3 tbs hummus
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 head romaine
hemp seeds (optional)
Mince the garlic add it to a bowl with the apple cider vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and toss them in the garicy mix.
Place a skillet on high heat until it is smoking. Add the tomatoes flesh side down for 2 minutes until charred, turn over and cook on the opposite side for one minute. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Cube the slice of bread and toss in the remainder of the garlicy marinade. Place on a baking tray at 180C for 10 minutes until lovely and golden, set aside.
Slice the artichoke hearts in half and toss in the remainder of the garlicy mix, add a tablespoon of olive oil also. Place flesh side down on smoking skillet and char for 30 seconds on both sides. Set aside.
In the same skillet, drain the brine from the capers, reserve this brine. Fry the capers in the skillet for 2 minutes. Set aside.
Use a speed peeler to peel strips from the gherkins. Set aside.
Cut 1/3 off the top of the head of romaine. Cut the romain in half lengthwise.
To make the dressing, add the hummus, apple cider vinegar and 1 tbs of the brine from the capers in a bowl. If you have a squeezy bottle this will help with plating, but it is not necessary.
Get the skillet piping hot one last time. Drizzle the flat side of each of the romaine halves with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place flat side down on the hot skillet and char for 3 minutes only on one side.
Remove them from the heat and set aside. I like to splash a bit of red wine vinegar on them at this stage but it is not necessary.
To plate either squeeze a spiral design of dressing on the plate or use a spoon to create a nice circle of dressing in the centre of the plate. Drizzle some of the dressing on the flat side of the romaine heart also.
Place the grilled romain half in the centre of the plate. Place the charred tomatoes, artichokes, capers and gherkin strips around and on top of the romain lettuce.
Finish with chopped chives or pea shoots and sprinkle with hemp hearts if you have them.