Dinner with the mysterious Jeopardy Lane at the Plaza Hotel in New York in Anthony Horowitz’s first James Bond novel, Trigger Mortis (2015), comprises Caesar salad and grilled sole. Bond orders for both of them and decides to keep the meal simple, eschewing the dishes pretentiously named in French that are liable to be overcooked.
For James Bond, the grilled sole is a standard, Bond having consumed many a sole during the course of his missions, but the salad is new, although it’s possible that some of the unspecified salads Bond’s enjoyed over the years, especially while in New York, have been of the Caesar variety.
Given that the book is set in 1957, I’ve tracked down a recipe for Caesar salad first published in 1954 and reprinted in 1957. The recipe I’ve adapted below comes from Myra Waldo’s Pan American’s Complete Round-the-World Cookbook, a cosmopolitan collection of recipes gathered by the airline ‘from 81 countries they serve’, which I think is fully in keeping with James Bond’s world and would no doubt appeal to Ian Fleming’s sense of adventure and glamour.
- 2 Romaine lettuce hearts
- 2 slices of white bread
- 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil, plus oil for frying
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 3 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp finely grated Parmesan
- ½ tsp mustard powder
- Generous pinch black pepper
- 1 egg
Remove the crusts from the bread and cut the slices into cubes. Pour enough olive oil into a frying pan to cover the base and over a high heat fry the bread cubes and garlic for 2-3 minutes until the cubes (now croutons) are golden brown. Transfer the croutons and the garlic to a dish or bowl and set aside.
Wash the lettuce hearts, chop off their bases, then tear the lettuce into pieces, putting the pieces into a salad bowl. Add the olive oil, vinegar, anchovies, mustard, black pepper and Parmesan and toss the salad well.
Put the egg into a small saucepan, cover the egg with water, bring the water to the boil, and boil the egg for 1 minute. Run cold water over the egg, then crack the egg over the salad and mix the yolk and the soft white into the salad (you may have to dig some of the white out of the shell).
Toss the croutons and garlic into the salad and serve.