Perfect partners: Caesar salad and Caesar Flathead
By Anthony Davies
Simple Caesar Salad
A small Cos lettuce,
A small handful of red capsicum strips (optional)
Two rashers lean bacon
One 45gm can of premium anchovy fillets in olive oil
2 slices white bread
¼ cup mayonnaise
A good handful of shaved or grated Parmesan cheese
2 skinned Flathead fillets from a 1 kilo fish, approx 200g each
reserved oil from the anchovies for cooking
Dice the bacon finely and fry in a nonstick fry-pan at fairly high heat. We want the bacon crispy but not burnt. Drain on paper towels when cooked.
Brush the bread slices lightly with a little of the oil from the anchovy can and cut each slice into 1cm squares. Spread them in a single layer on an ovenproof plate or baking tray and bake in a 180c oven for about 10 minutes or until just starting to brown.
Mash two of the anchovy fillets thoroughly with the back of a spoon. Yes, in a mixing bowl, not on the bench top. Actually a stone mortar and pestle is great for this if you have one.
Mix the anchovy paste you’ve just made with the mayonnaise.
Cut the remaining anchovy fillets into 1cm pieces. Reserve the oil from the can.
Tear or cut the lettuce leaves into bite sized pieces. Just before serving toss through the mayonnaise dressing, anchovies, bacon bits and Parmesan cheese. The red capsicum isn’t traditional in a Caesar salad but I like the dash of colour it gives to the dish.
Serve in a large bowl, with the croutons in a separate bowl or basket so they don’t go
Wipe out the fry-pan with a paper towel. Add the oil from the anchovy can and bring to a medium heat. Pat the Flathead fillets dry with paper towels and cook gently until just coloured all round and cooked through, about 5 minutes for 200g fillets.
Flathead fillets are kind of sausage shaped, like pork fillets, so they are “rolled” rather than turned. Drain on paper towels and serve at once with the Caesar salad and a wedge of lemon.
This quick and healthy meal for two is just the thing for Caesar salad lovers; the anchovy oil adds a touch more zest to the mild flavoured Flatty fillets and ties the whole meal together with a common theme.