When it comes to salads, I’d like to toss random fresh vegetables together, make simple vinaigrette, and serve it with a piece of chicken or steak. I like the fact that the sky is the limit with what I can do.
But then sometimes, I’d like to make classic recipes and enjoy the comfort of knowing that the end result will simply be delicious. Caesar Salad is just one of those classics that I make over and over in my kitchen.
According to Wikipedia, an Italian chef, Caesar Cardini, created the dish back in 1924, on the fly, in Tijuana, Mexico. The original recipe did not include pieces of anchovy, as he was opposed to it. Instead he used Worchester Sauce to give the flavor of anchovy.
Over the years, different chefs added ingredients like mustard, mustard powder, and pieces of anchovy in to the salad dressing.
I, personally, like the saltiness that anchovies add to the dressing but if you are not a big fan of it you can omit it. Although I love mustard, since it has a very strong flavor, I feel as though it takes over the taste of the dressing. That is why, I prefer not to use mustard.
One important thing to mention is that this recipe uses raw egg yolks to create an emulsion similar to mayonnaise. In order to prevent the risk of salmonella, you should always use the freshest eggs (from a source you trust) you can find.
The freshly made, garlicky, croutons give the salad the crunch that it needs. I usually make the dressing in the morning and toss everything together right before serving.
Freshly tossed, topped with a few shavings of Parmesan cheese served with a piece of juicy, perfectly grilled chicken is what I call a perfect meal. If you are serving for vegetarian friends, you can always swap chicken with grilled Portobello mushrooms.
Or just serve it by itself. Either way, you can never go wrong with such a classic dish that stood the test of time.
Classic Caesar Salad
For the Croutons:
- 1 garlic clove peeled and pressed through a garlic press
- 3 +1 tablespoons olive oil - divided
- 3 slices of toast cut in to 1 inch cubes – (I use multi grain toast)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Salad:
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and pressed through a garlic press
- 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 5 tablespoon canola oil
- 5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 ounces 3/4 cup Parmesan, grated
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper freshly grounded
- 2 romaine lettuce hearts rinsed and dried - cut into 3/4 –inch pieces
To make the Croutons:
- Place bread cubes into a bowl. Add minced garlic, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and salt. Give it a toss squeezing gently so bread absorbs water.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet, over medium heat. Transfer soaked bread into the skillet.
- Cook, stirring frequently, until browned and crisp, 8-10 minutes.
- Transfer croutons to a bowl and set aside.
To make the Dressing:
- Whisk lemon juice with garlic and let it stand for 5 minutes.
- Whisk egg yolks, anchovies, black pepper, and Worcestershire into garlic mixture. While whisking constantly, drizzle canola and olive oil into the bowl, steady stream until fully emulsified.
- Add 1/2 cup grated Parmesan and whisk until they are all incorporated.
- Right before serving, add romaine lettuce to the dressing and gently toss to coat.
- Add croutons and toss until coated with the dressing. Sprinkle it with more Parmesan cheese.
Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen‘s Classic Caesar Salad recipe.