Whenever Jeff makes lunch, Max is right there by his side. And each time this duo whips something up, it ends in applause. They christened the kitchen during our first ever lunch in the factory with some Yotam Ottolenghi inspired deep-fried falafel and a cucumber tomato salad that left everyone with their jaw on the ground. Emily even said it was the best falafel she'd ever had. I think once we all moved into the factory and sussed out the new kitchen, the deep-fryer was sort of this magical tool we were all eager to use, but also afraid of. Jeff and Max got right in there, and didn't even dip their toe in with some lightweight french fries, but went straight for the gold.
But, enough about falafel. The last time they cooked they made Chicken Caesar Salad, croutons and all. It was stellar, thanks in part to Jeff's signature dressing. It's a relatively classic one, but why mess with the best? This salad was perfect and satisfying in the way that salads pre-health & wellness craze are. You've got The Cobb, The Wedge, The Santa Fe, straight-up Cole Slaw, and then The Caesar. A base of crunchy, watery romaine drowning in tangy, creamy dressing and topped with hard shavings of parm and sourdough croutons that, in my opinion, are best eaten soggy with dressing.
When I asked Jeff why he chose to make this salad, he told me, "When I was five my grandma took me on a cruise to Alaska. That's when I ate a Caesar Salad for the first time ever and it changed my life. I have an incredibly vivid memory of being like, 'Wow. What are these flavor combinations?'"
It's true. The tang, the crunch, the cream, the parmesan, the fish; it all melds together to create a pretty unforgettable flavor profile. Jeff, who when he's not operating the Ram press, does improv comedy, and is just truly, a really funny guy, told me about his emotional attachment to Chicken Caesar Salad. He's a busy guy and it took me a lot of hunting to find him in the factory today to get my hands on his dressing recipe, but I finally did and this is what he gave me.
(adapted from Bon Appetit)
- "Too much garlic"
- Anchovies (depends a lot on the crowd, but use more as flavoring than meat)
- Mayonnaise (if feeling fancy make your own with egg yolks and avocado oil)
- Lemon juice
- "As much parmesan as you have in your house"
- Black pepper
- Croutons (best to use a sourdough)
- More parmesan
- Grilled chicken
- Cherry tomato
- Please all of the dressing ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Rinse and dry chopped romaine. Douse generously with caeser dressing.
- Serve with shaved parmesan, croutons, cracked black pepper and grilled chicken and/or tomato cherries.