Appetizers/Starters, Desserts, Lunch, Salads, Sides

Caesar Salad Dressing

October 19, 1999 is a date that will forever remain in my memory. Why, you say? What is so important about that very day? It is the day that I ate the most perfect Caesar Salad salad ever made in the history of Caesar salads.

Yes, I remember the date. I remember the place (it was a restaurant attached to a Holiday Inn between Sausalito and Mill Valley, CA) and I remember the salad as if I ate it yesterday and yet it is almost 17 years later. That is how good this salad was. Think that I am crazy now? Yes, I remember the date of a salad. 🙂 Ever since then, I have tried Caesar Salads often, in the hope that maybe, just maybe I could find one just as good. Either the dressing doesn’t taste quite right, or there is too much of it (nothing like dressing with a side of romaine [shudder]) or (more often than not) it is just bad.

This salad doesn’t come close to the 1999 Salad, but I have found this dressing to be pretty awesome. As you know, the base of Caesar salad is egg yolks, but dealing with raw egg yolks can be a little problematic at times, so I thought of what else I could use as a base and came up with mayonnaise, which is in essence … eggs! This dressing should stay fridge-stable for a couple of days, if you don’t end up using it all at once.

for the dressing
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 anchovy fillets, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

for the Salad
1 (12-inch) baguette, cut on bias, 1/2-inch-thick slices
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 head of romaine lettuce
1/2 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/4 cup)

Combine lemon juice and garlic in bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Process mayonnaise, Parmesan, lemon-garlic mixture, vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard, anchovies, salt, and pepper in blender for about 30 seconds. With blender running, slowly add oil. That’s it!

To make the croutons, you have a few options. After you have sliced the baguette and brushed with olive oil, you can either use a toaster, a panini-press or the grill to toast/grill the croutons. I used my panini press. Once grilled, rub with the garlic clove and set aside while you toss the salad.

As for the salad, I tend to eat the inner romaine leaves and leave them whole to be cut with a knife and fork. Alternatively, cut the lettuce into bit sized piece. Dress the salad with the dressing sparingly, coating the leaves with a gentle toss. Remember that you can always add more dressing, but don’t overdress to start out with. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and serve with the croutons.

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