Friday, April 6, 2012

Deconstructed Caesar

          One of the modern gastronomic trends that I like is food deconstruction: decomposing a dish, rearranging its elements and coming up with something new which may look simpler that the original dish but in fact be much more sophisticated in terms of cooking methods and techniques. I strongly believe that in such a way any dish can get a second life; sometimes I get carried away by my culinary fantasy as I start thinking of how I can deconstruct this or that classic dish. (By the way, if you feel like organizing a blogger’s community that will have fun in the kitchen by deconstructing traditional dishes, please, let me know – I’m totally in!)

Classic Caesar salad became one of the objects of my experiments. It was rather simple to work with it. Just think of it: you normally mix all the ingredients to make a salad; thus, for a deconstructed version of it you need to put all the elements on the plate separately. So, what do you see on the plate? A toast with grilled chicken and parmesan crisp, an egg with anchovy filling, tomato fondue and fresh lettuce sprinkled with olive oil. What will you feel once you start eating the dish and all the flavours will come together? I guess you will realize that it is something more that just a chicken sandwich with the salad leaves and, probably, the concoction of the elements will remind you of the original dish. That is basically the whole idea of a funny trend of deconstructing food!


4 heads of lettuce cos, about 50 gm each
4 chicken breasts, grilled and sliced
4 slices of bread
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 tsp anchovy paste
4 capers
200 gm tomatoes, deseeded and skinned
50 gm parmesan, grated
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste


1.      For tomato fondues, puree the tomatoes with some salt. Push the mixture through a sieve and cook over low heat till it thickens. Check the seasoning and transfer to a piping bag.

2.      For parmesan crisp, preheat the oven to 180C. Make 4 circles with grated cheese on a non-stick baking mat and put it into the oven for 7 – 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then remove the crisps from the baking mat.

3.      Cut the hard-boiled eggs into two halves and remove the egg yolks. Mix them with anchovy paste and fill the egg whites with the resulting mixture. Place a caper on top of each half.

4.      To serve, toast the bread and place it onto a serving plate. Top it with the grilled chicken and a parmesan crisp. Arrange an egg half on the side. Pipe some tomato fondue around. Place a head of lettuce on the plate, sprinkle it with salt, pepper and olive oil. Repeat to make 3 more servings.

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