Dinners at Anna's

Happy times spent cooking and sharing life at the Beach House

Decomposed Salads June 11, 2010

Filed under: food,food porn,recipes — heatherinsf @ 12:00 pm
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It has been my custom for quite a while to present a deconstructed salad for my guests.  I arrange beautiful lettuces in a deep bowl, add a perfect tomato, a cucumber, and whatever other veggies I like with a sharp paring knife and a side of wonderful dressing.

One day I served this to Anna and she said, “Oh, a decomposed salad!”  Sometimes her mother tongue comes out with hysterical English equivalents.

Now, I always call my pretty salads prepared in this fashion Decomposed Salads because it is just that funny.

Arrange the romaine prettily!

Tonight, over at Anna’s, we had a bonus crop of romaine hearts from our favorite garden, errrr, well, from Costco.   We were both craving a huge salad for dinner plus someone mentioned Caesar dressing and that sealed the deal.

I prepared the salad while Anna finished the flower border in her backyard, a wondrous creation she and her dear beau have been slaving over the past few weeks.  From an empty lot of sand to a sumptuous riot of color and textures, the garden is the best place to watch the sun set with a glass of juice (a Merlot based meritage) and a cozy sweater.  You can hear the surf so loudly in the yard, it’s like a giant engine humming in the background.

This weekend my stepsister J___ shared with me a wonderful recipe for a fast Caesar-like dressing that she serves over crisp cooked asparagus and diced sweet red peppers.  With a few tweaks of my own,  I realized that with just the basic ingredients one normally has on hand in the fridge one can have a delicious Caesar salad anytime.

To accompany the salad I thawed a few chicken thighs and sauteed them in butter and finished them with vermouth and fresh tarragon from the garden.This Chicken Tarragon is a staple recipe in my family, from the amazing Spice Island Cookbook.

New Message
(Chicken Tarragon)

What a delectable dinner!

If you have these, you can make a fast Caesar salad


1/4 c mayonnaise
2 T sour cream
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T H2O
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced or pureed
1/8 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp anchovy paste
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
2 romaine hearts, separated into leaves

Mix together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl using a whisk, until very smooth. Add more lemon juice if you like it more tangy, like I do. Serve with the lettuce leaves and dip into the dressing with abandon.

You can make this dressing very low calorie by using light mayonnaise and fat free sour cream. Or, make it more decadent by using homemade mayonnaise.

Deconstructed Caesar Salad

Don’t you just want to dive in?

A bonus to the evening, Anna gifted me with a gorgeous Portuguese chicken filled with my favorite herb for stuffing – marjoram. Isn’t she adorable?

My new chicken!

I love chickens!


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