On my never-ending quest to reinvent leftover food I was recently faced with a dilemma.
To be honest, the root of the problem can be traced back to me. I made two large pizzas for three people. What was I thinking?! All of the leftover pizza was portioned in sets of three slices, wrapped in foil, and placed in the refrigerator. And, there it sat, practically untouched, for three days.
It wasn’t bad pizza…at least I didn’t think it was bad. The problem was, there was too much of it and I shouldn’t have expected people to eat leftover pizza for days on end. If I was still in college, then yes, leftover pizza might be all you get. Be happy to have something to eat. Live with it.
So, I either had to eat all of the leftover pizza or figure out a way to reinvent it.
3 slices of leftover pizza (with various toppings)
Iceberg lettuce (one third of a head of lettuce, rough chopped)
1/3 cup Kalamata olives
¼ cup Dried Parmesan cheese
Vinegar and Oil dressing, to taste (I used store bought Italian dressing)
Slice the pizza toppings away from the crust with a knife. Allow the pizza topping to warm to room temperature.
Cut the thick crusty edge from the pizza and toast briefly in an oven.
Fill serving bowls with cold chopped iceberg lettuce.
Drizzle salad dressing on salad.
Rough chop the toppings and scatter them across the salads.
Add chopped Kalamata olives and top with parmesan cheese.
Serve the salad cold with warm breadsticks (formerly known as pizza crust).
A good Caesar salad is hard to resist. Crisp romaine lettuce and crunchy croutons
are the perfect vehicle for the robust, memorable dressing that accompanies it.
Italian immigrant, Caesar Cardini is credited with this Italian-American
staple. Caesar immigrated to America in
the early 20th century and eventually made his way to southern
California and Tijuana, Mexico, where he operated restaurants. He trademarked his famous salad dressing in
His storied life is not too different than the many other
immigrants that have made their homes here.
It is no surprise that many of our common, day-to-day meals are a result
of the imagination and ingenuity of immigrants, like Caesar Cardini. Immigrants have come to define who we are, as
2 cups Italian bread (or any other suitable bread for
1 Tbs olive oil
3 anchovies (packed in oil)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 egg yolk
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup olive oil
3 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese
1 large head of Romaine lettuce, chopped into large pieces
½ cup red onion, chopped
2 hardboiled eggs, sliced (optional)
Cut the loaf of bread into 1” thick slices. Lay the pieces of bread directly onto an oven rack and heat for about 15 minutes at 200°. Dry the bread but don’t toast it. Remove the dried bread from the oven and cut into 1” cubes. Toss the cubed bread in a bowl while drizzling a scant amount of olive oil. Put the croutons on a baking sheet and toast at 300° for about 15 minutes. I let mine go a bit too long in the oven and they tasted nutty. (Note of the brown hue of the croutons in the photo.)
Smear the anchovies, garlic, and salt on a cutting board
with the flat side of a large, kitchen knife. Keep working the mixture with the
knife until it forms a paste. I have to
admit, I licked my fingers after preparing the paste. The anchovy and garlic was intense, but oh,
so good, especially since I am crazy about anchovy!
Whisk the egg yolk, lemon juice, and mustard in a bowl. Once blended, introduce the olive oil very
slowly by drizzling the oil into the bowl and whisking briskly. Keep whisking until the mixture becomes
smooth and creamy. Add a little water
and whisk some more. Add just enough
water to achieve a creamy consistency, like you might find in store bought,
creamy salad dressings. Add the anchovy
paste and Parmesan and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Transfer the dressing to a large salad
Lay the Romaine lettuce horizontally on a cutting board and
make 1 ½” to 2” cuts from one end to the other.
Romaine is a dense, compact lettuce and that makes it desirable for this
salad. Add the chopped lettuce to the
bowl and toss gently to incorporate the dressing. Add the croutons, onion and toss a few more
times. Top with sliced hard boiled eggs,
if you like. Sprinkle a little more Parmesan
cheese on top and that’s it.
Now, since I mentioned that I love anchovies, I have to say
that I enjoy adding strips of anchovy on top of the salad, radiating from the
center like sun rays, but I know that anchovies are not adored by
everyone. The amount of anchovy in the
dressing should satisfy anchovy lovers without offending the rest of the
crowd. In fact, the lemon juice and Dijon
mustard tame the anchovy flavor remarkably well. Balance the dressing according to your own
If you are cooking for someone who absolutely despises
anchovies, consider finding a new friend consider substituting the
anchovy in the dressing with a few teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce. Everyone loves Worcestershire sauce,
right? Just don’t tell ‘em that
Worcestershire sauce contains anchovy!