Now that the weather is finally warming up, I’ve been searching for lighter, more refreshing recipes. Salad is a clear choice, and Caesar salad is one of mine and Eric’s favorites. There was a time that we frequently bought salad kits, but those days are long gone. Now, we opt for homemade dressing and croutons. It’s easy, inexpensive, and it gives us the option to make only the amount we want. I can’t tell you how many bottles of dressing or boxes of croutons I’ve thrown away in my lifetime because I didn’t use them enough to warrant having an entire bottle/box. I know making dressing and croutons at home isn’t feasible for everyone, but you might find yourself making time to make them once you realize how easy and delicious they are. Plus, there’s something incredibly satisfying about turning egg yolks, anchovies, garlic and oil into dressing.
We order Caesar salad frequently at restaurants, so it was only a matter of time before we tried making it at home. I actually can’t believe it took us this long, but we’ve made up for it since finding this recipe. Hands down, my favorite part of this dressing is the garlic. It’s toned down some from being grated and steeped in lemon juice, but it still has that garlicky punch that I so love. The anchovies add a savory, salty flavor to the dressing. They’re minced to a paste before being mixed into the dressing, so you don’t have to worry about having a big piece of fish in your salad. Please don’t be turned off by the inclusion of anchovies because they add so much flavor to this dressing, and it would certainly be lacking without them. (Also, check out this article about them from NPR; you may change your mind.) One aspect of this recipe that I found especially interesting was the use of two oils. Canola oil is used to cut through the fruitiness of the extra-virgin olive oil, and I liked that the olive oil taste wasn’t overpowering like it can be in some dressings. Finally, egg yolks are used to hold everything together and temper the strong-flavored ingredients.
- YIELD: 8 servings
For the dressing:
1 large clove garlic
2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
6 anchovy fillets, patted dry with paper towels and mashed to a paste with a fork
2 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons canola oil
5 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
About ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
2 heads romaine lettuce, rinsed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
To make the dressing, grate the garlic clove with a microplane or zester to a fine paste in a small bowl. Mix in the lemon juice and let stand 10 minutes. Add in the Worcestershire sauce, egg yolks, and anchovies and whisk to blend. Whisk in the canola and olive oils until the dressing is emulsified. Add about ½ cup of the grated Parmesan, season with freshly ground black pepper, and adjust seasonings to taste.
Place the romaine in a large salad bowl. Add a small portion of the dressing initially and toss well to coat. Continue to add additional dressing little by little until the lettuce is coated to your liking. Toss with croutons and serve with shaved Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper, if desired.