'The Best of Gourmet: Sixty-five Years' Part II


Last updated 8/16/2007 at Noon

The recent publication “The Best of Gourmet: Sixty-five Years, Sixty-five Favorite Recipes” (Random House publishers) is a historic and broad-based compendium of America’s collective culinary experiences that will touch at least three generations. My peers had enough years with the magazine to know it intimately, the next generation may have viewed it as an iconic publication and today’s emerging cooks may be rediscovering its depth of culinary history and experience. The latter being the most significant.

For example, in continuing personal saga with Gourmet Magazine’s new book, my husband Bob and I both peered at Caesar Salad, the 2005 Recipe of the Year, with salivating appreciation. We both adore it. And in my cooking school days, Caesar Salad was one presented in only a handful of the classes Bob attended. It is also one of the very few recipes he claimed as his own and made for countless guests (without incident, I must add).

Today, there are few, if any, American restaurants that will make the authentic Caesar Salad. With our litigious society, restaurants and their chefs shun uncooked egg whites. The research does not bear out the concern… it is in millions-to-one that a person will encounter salmonella with uncooked egg whites. However, you get to be the judge in your own household. If it’s a concern, don’t do it.

However, if you want to make an authentic Caesar Salad, the new book says that despite all of the many they have tried since the first recipe was published in the ’40s, “this version is simply the best.”

Gourmet’s 2005 Caesar Salad

1 large clove garlic, halved lengthwise

¾ to 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 (3-oz.) Portuguese roll or a 7-inch piece of baguette, cut into ¾-inch cubes

8 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained

1 large egg

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

3 hearts of romaine (an 18-oz. package), leaves separated but left whole

1 oz. (1/2 cup) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Season very large wooden salad bowl by rubbing a cut half of garlic followed by 1 teaspoon olive oil onto bottom and side of bowl (reserve garlic).

Heat ¾ cup oil with both halves of reserved garlic in an 8-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat, turning garlic occasionally, until golden (1-2 minutes), then discard garlic.

Add bread cubes to oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden on all sides, about 2 minutes. Transfer croutons to paper towels to drain. Pour oil through a small fine-mesh sieve into heatproof measuring cup and add enough additional olive oil to bring total to 6 tablespoons.

Put anchovies in salad bowl and mash to a paste until 2 forks. Whisk in egg and lemon juice, then add reserved oil (warm or at room temperature) in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified. Season with salt to taste.

Add romaine leaves to dressing and toss to coat. Add croutons and toss briefly. Divide salad among 6 large plates, then sprinkle with cheese and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

This recipe highlights a current favorite, chipotle sauce, and today’s demand for fast cooking. It is, according to Gourmet, a “spin on New Orleans’s classic barbecue shrimp… Slurping their shells and scooping up the hot, buttery sauce with crusty bread makes for nothing less than a feast. Best of all, it’s ready in a flash.”

Gourmet’s Baked Shrimp in Chipotle Sauce

½ stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

1 ½ tbsp. dry red wine

1 ½ tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 to 2 canned chipotle chilies in adobo, minced, plus 2 to 3 tsp. of adobo sauce

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 ½ tsp. salt

1 ½ lb. medium shrimp, in shell (31-35 per lb.)

Baguette-style French bread, accompaniment

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Melt butter in a saucepan and stir in wine, Worcestershire sauce, chipotle chilies with adobo sauce (to taste), garlic and salt. Toss shrimp with sauce in a 2- to 3-qt. ceramic or glass shallow baking dish. Bake in preheated oven just until shrimp are cooked through, 10-12 minutes. Sauce can be briefly simmered (with shrimp removed) to reduce it as needed.

Serves 4.


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