Part of the routine of living overseas means saying goodbye to dear friends who are moving on to other far-flung destinations. It's sad every time someone moves, but the upside is that we inherit all sorts of food and kitchen items that wouldn't otherwise travel well. Most of the time, we get things we'd use anyway, like balsamic vinegar or grapeseed oil or imported chocolate. Other times, it's more of a head-scratcher, like anchovy paste.
I actually adore anchovies. One of my favorite food memories of the past few years is discovering the amazingness of fresh anchovies cured in just a little olive oil, lemon juice and salt. We had them on the Amalfi Coast during spring, and even today I can still practically see those little fish jumping into my mouth. That's how fresh they were.
It's taken me a few months of tinkering around with anchovy paste on occasion (in marinara sauce, with eggs, as flavoring for stew) to finally figure out what the hubby and I like using it for: Caesar salad. Now, I'm not a fan of Caesar salad normally. For me, Caesar salads are often overdressed with thick, heavy dressing, like a wet blanket. Ick.
All that changed last week when I made just a little bit of Caesar dressing with the anchovy paste and added tomatoes and cucumbers to the salad to absorb a little more of the dressing. It turns out that homemade Caesar dressing is awesome, and the anchovy paste gives it depth of flavor without the fishiness you'd expect. To top off our salad, I grilled some chicken seasoned with lemon zest, salt and pepper, and we made wraps out of the salad. By just using around 1/2 cup of dressing, we were able to make two giant wraps.
Caesar Salad Dressing
1 cup light mayo
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
juice from half a lemon
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 large clove of minced garlic
2 tablespoons water
Whisk together all ingredients except water. Gradually add water to make dressing less chunky (add more if needed). Yields 1 1/2 cups, but only use 1/4 to 1/2 cup for a 2-person serving of salad.