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Shrimp Caesar Salad

By Chef John Ash

This makes a lovely presentation and works equally well with other shellfish such as lobster, Dungeness crab or even scallops.  Be sure to use sustainable American shrimp for this recipe. The Caesar dressing here is a bit unconventional (uses tofu) but no one will know!  This is a lovely meal in a dish that goes well with Russian River Ranches Chardonnay.

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    Serves 4

    Total Time

    Prep Time

    Difficulty Level Easy

    Ingredients

    1 lb peeled, deveined 16 – 20 size shrimp

    2 medium sized hearts of romaine lettuce

    1 small head fresh fennel, sliced vertically paper thin (do not store in water!)

    1/4 C freshly shaved Parmesan cheese

    Chervil sprigs

    2 oz fresh salmon caviar rinsed to plump and remove excess salt (optional)

    Caesar dressing (recipe follows)

    Garlic Croutons (recipe follows)

    Tofu Caesar Dressing

    2 tsp chopped fresh garlic

    1 C freshly grated parmesan cheese

    1 tbs Dijon mustard

    6 anchovy fillets packed in oil

    2 tsp white wine or cider vinegar

    1 tbs fresh lemon juice

    t tbs finely grated lemon zest

    1/4 c vegetable or chicken stock or water

    1-1/2 tbs olive oil

    6 oz silken tofu (1/2 traditional block)

    Salt and freshly ground pepper

    Garlic Croutons

    1/3 C olive oil

    2 large cloves garlic, bruised with the side of a knife

    3 C bread cubes cut in 1-inch cubes from good day old bread with crusts removed

    2 tbs finely minced parsley

    1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest

    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

    Directions

    1. Steam or poached shrimp until just done. Be sure not to overcook. Cut romaine hearts attractively, add fennel, toss with a little of the dressing and arrange attractively on chilled plates. Arrange celery root on top of lettuce and drizzle with a bit more of the dressing.

    2. Arrange shrimp attractively around. Drizzle a bit more of dressing and scatter croutons and shaved Parmesan over top. Garnish with salmon caviar, chervil and serve immediately.

    3. Tofu Caesar Dressing Makes about 1-3/4 cups Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Season to your taste with salt, pepper, lemon juice and anchovy.

    4. Garlic Croutons Add oil and garlic to a sauté pan and sauté garlic over moderate heat till it just begins to color. Be careful garlic doesn’t burn or it will become bitter. Toss bread cubes with oil and garlic and place on a rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet.

    5. Toast in a preheated 375-degree oven till bread is nicely golden on all sides, 10 – 12 minutes or so. Croutons should be toasty on the surface but still somewhat soft in the very middle. Remove and toss with parsley, lemon zest and salt and pepper while still warm. Store air tight if not using immediately.

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