In 1995, when I trotted off to NYU, I was housed in a dorm that overlooked Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, NYC. I was too thrilled to complain about being stuffed in an over-sized closet with 3 other guys. The two small rooms were connected by a tiny bathroom where I patiently sat on a folding chair, hunched over the toilet seat, stirring ramen noodles on a portable electric burner. That was the closest I ever came to "cooking" for my first year on my own. Sophomore year, I struck gold in the housing lottery, scoring a large room with a kitchenette. I also discovered Dean and DeLuca, a "fancy grocery store" in Soho that sold sophisticated ingredients at over-sophisticated prices. The first recipe I made on my own was from The Dean & DeLuca Cookbook, written by David Rosengarten with Joel Dean and Giorgio DeLuca. I had NOTHING in my kitchen, so I spent a small fortune on ingredients and cooking utensils. I stole plates, salt and pepper from the dining hall.
--2 cups Walnut Halves
--3/4 cup Confectioners' Sugar
--Vegetable Oil for frying
--1/2 tsp Salt
--Pinch Cayenne Pepper
--4 Flat Anchovy Fillets, rinsed and drained (or soaked in Milk to draw out the saltiness), then minced
--4 cloves Garlic, peeled
--2 tsp Sherry Vinegar
--2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
--1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
--1/2 tsp Dry Mustard
--1/2 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
--4 heads Romaine Lettuce, washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
--1/2 cup Roquefort Cheese, crumbled
Simmer the walnuts in boiling water for 5 minutes until slightly softened. Drain and dry completely, then mix with the sugar. In a heavy kettle, heat 3 inches of vegetable oil to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Deep fry the walnuts in batches for about 1 or 2 minutes until golden brown, and drain on paper towel. Season with salt and cayenne pepper. Set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, mash the anchovies with the garlic to form a paste. Whisk in the vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and dried mustard. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil in a stream, whisking until dressing is emulsified.
In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with the dressing to coat, then add the Roquefort cheese and crispy walnuts.