I love Caesar salad. I am not sure what it is exactly, maybe the
crisp, cold romaine lettuce, or the freshly shaved parmesean cheese,
or the toasty homemade croutons, or maybe the dressing, bold with a
hint of anchovy but just a hint so one may not even be able to
identify the anchovy.
But what is it about Caesar salad? I have yet to find a good one in a
restaurant. So many restaurants do not even spell it correctly on the
menu. I can understand that a meat restaurant would struggle with this
and in substitution offer something like a creamy garlic mayonnaise
dressing, usually overdressed and a bit under-chilled for my taste,
but dairy restaurants? What’s the problem? I’ve tried so many that
my husband has requested that I stop ordering it.
If you are a fan of Caesar salad try the following recipe adapted
from Ina Garten. It’s a big hit in my home and has that authentic
Caesar flavor. If you cannot get great homemade croutons from your
local bakery or bagel store, make your own with leftover challah.
They are worth the effort and can be used for more than one salad.
2 large heads Romaine lettuce
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups chunky croutons (homemade are the best)
For the Dressing
1 extra large egg yolk at room temperature
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
5 -8 anchovy fillets (optional)
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
2 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups good mild olive oil
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Wash the lettuce leaves carefully and spin-dry in a salad spinner.
Stack the leaves on a cutting board and cut them crosswise into 1 ½
inch lices. Place them in a large mixing bowl.
For the dressing, place the egg yolk, mustard, garlic, anchovies,
lemon juice, salt, and pepper into the bowl of a food processor fitted
with a stell blade. Process until smooth. With the food processor
running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube and process
until thick. Add ½ cup grated parmesan cheese and pulse 3 times.
Toss the lettuce with enough dressing to moisten well. Add 1 cup
grated parmesan and toss. Add the croutons and toss with the rest of
the salad. Serve on chilled salad plates.