20 slices white or wholemeal bread
100mL melted butter
5 quail eggs
6 bacon rashers, cut into thin slices
1 small cos (romaine) lettuce
100g grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
4 free-range egg yolks
1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
5 anchovies fillets, finely chopped
400mL extra virgin olive oil
Pre-heat the oven to 160 C (315 F/Gas 2–3). Remove the crusts from the slices of bread. Using a rolling pin, roll out the bread slices to 5mm thick. Cut out circles using a 7cm diameter round cutter, brush with some butter and press into greased minimuffin tin holes to form a crouton tart. Place in the oven and bake for 5–10 minutes, or until they are golden.
To make the Caesar dressing, place the egg yolks, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, white wine vinegar and anchovy in a jug and with a handheld blender, start blending. Add the oil slowly until creamy and season with salt and pepper.
Place the quail eggs in a saucepan, cover with cold water and add a splash of white vinegar. Bring them to the boil, then remove from the heat immediately. Cool the eggs under cold running water, then carefully peel and cut into quarters.
Fry the bacon in a large frying pan over high heat until crispy.
Remove to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain and cool.
Just before serving, finely shred the lettuce and dress with a small amount of the Caesar dressing. Add the Parmesan then fill the tart shells to just below the top. Place a quail egg quarter on the top of each and finish with a sprinkle of bacon, sea salt, a drizzle of the Caesar dressing and some extra grated Parmesan.
One of the most famous salads in the world and the first one I learned to make at culinary school, is the Caesar salad. I can’t tell you how many ways I have made this over the years or how many different ways I’ve been presented with it while dining.
When it comes to a party, you can’t beat serving it in a tart-shaped crouton topped with a quail egg - you may have to pre-order your quail eggs from the butcher, otherwise just boil some normal eggs and chop them finely.
Credits: Murdoch Books
Photo Credits: Anson Smart