Well, well, well… Another year is upon us and all I want to do is eat a salad… Seriously, I’m not sure that I have ever consumed as much red meat as I had this past December! Holy cow. I need a break or at least a time out this week! Back to eating my normal salads, grilled chicken and my vegan protein shakes! My body needs it’s normal routine, STAT!
Ok, there is major history to this Caesar salad recipe. This recipe was developed by my Dad. He traveled a lot (or a ton) for business when I grew up and was always eating out. I guess in the late 70’s or early 80’s Caesar Salad became popular at most restaurants and he loved them but like you know the salad dressing varies huge. It’s either a mayonnaise gloppy mess, an out of the bottle processed tasting whatever, it’s either too warm or the croutons just don’t cut it! He was on a mission when I was a kid to make the Best Caesar Salad ever. We were his guinea pigs and what came out of our trail and error salads became our family tradition and the most requested salad from all our friends and continues to be. When people have eaten this salad at my house and they are invited to dinner, they always ask, “are you going to make your Caesar Salad”? This salad is so good, that you will be hard pressed to eat another Caesar Salad at a restaurant again. I gave up years ago and only eat it at home now!
So here’s my take on Caesar Salad.
- You have to make your own croutons. Period. Why wouldn’t you though. I always make extra and store them in a zippy bag in the refrigerator for all my other salads. I haven’t bought a store bought crouton in my life.
- Anchovies are good. Actually, I can’t stand eating them but it is a necessity for the salad. Heck, you only use four of them for the entire salad and they add so much flavor. I always give the rest of the can to my dog. Charlie thinks that he has died and gone to heaven every time I give him this special treat.
- Don’t worry about the raw egg yolk. I have made this salad probably 2000 times in my life and it’s never been a problem. If you are that worried about it, store the dressing in the refrigerator until you are ready to make the salad.
- Use a wood bowl whenever possible. I don’t know why but that’s the way I have always done it and I think it tastes better.
- When you make the dressing, just mix it together like a vinaigrette. The whole purpose of this is not to make a mayo based dressing. Just a thicker vinaigrette.
- If you want to add chicken, steak, pork or shrimp to your salad just make the dressing omitting the egg and cheese and adding a tablespoon of honey. Marinate for a couple of hours (or more) and grill. (Shrimp marinate for a half hour). Tasty.
- Keep your Romaine lettuce cool but not cold. It just tastes better!
- I HATE that pre-chopped garlic. It tastes weird. Take an extra minute and mince your own garlic. It’s the right thing to do to make a proper Caesar salad.
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced (or 4 small ones)
- 1 egg yolk
- ¼ cup GRATED Parmesan cheese
- 5 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- 5 dashes Red Wine Vinegar (Balsamic tastes great too)
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 4 anchovy filet's, minced
- pinch of Salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 three pack of romaine hearts, chopped into bite size pieces.
- ½ lemon, juiced
- HOMEMADE croutons
- Parmesan cheese
- In a large (wooden) bowl take 1 smashed garlic clove and rub it all over the interior of the bowl. Add the garlic, egg, Parmesan, Worcestershire, vinegar, mustard, anchovy, salt, pepper and olive oil. Stir together until well incorporated. Let sit for 30 minutes.
- Make the croutons. (See note).
- When ready to serve add the lettuce, lemon juice, croutons, a handful of Parmesan cheese and pepper. Mix well with the dressing.
Cut your favorite bread into bite size pieces. I usually do one baguette. (Today I used leftover dinner rolls).
Place on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil liberally on top. Sprinkle with a few pinches of garlic salt.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Wanna make your own garlic salt? Mix together equal parts garlic powder, kosher salt and a few tablespoons of dried parsley. Store in an airtight container and never buy it again!