Homemade Caesar Salad
Mess Level: Low
Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: None
For the Salad:
- 1 Large Head Romaine Lettuce (5-6 Cups Chopped)
- 2 Cups Croutons
- ½ Cup Shaved Parmesan Cheese
For the Dressing:
- 1 2 oz Can Anchovies
- 2 Large Cloves of Garlic
- 1-2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 3 Tablespoons Finely Grated Parmesan
- 3 Egg Yolks
- ¾ Cup Grapeseed or other Neutral Oil
- 1-2 Tablespoons Water
- 1 teaspoon Mustard
- Cut the romaine into bite-sized pieces. Wash the romaine and spin it in a salad spinner or pat it very dry, set aside.
- In a blender, add the egg yolks and turn it on to a low speed. Gradually add the oil in a very thin stream, alternating occasionally with the water until all the oil has been added.
- The mixture should be slightly yellow and very glossy.
- Drain excess oil from the anchovies and chop finely with the garlic, it will look like olive tapenade. Add this mixture to the blender along with the finely grated parmesan, mustard, and lemon juice. Blend until the mixture is well combined.
- Taste and adjust as needed, add ground black pepper if desired.
- Toss the romaine, croutons, and dressing together until the salad is lightly coated. Garnish with additional shaved parmesan and croutons. Enjoy!
Note: Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.
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Can I substitute the anchovies?
- That sounds fishy...
Not in this recipe. There are recipes out there that give you a vegetarian option but this is more of a classic “embrace the anchovy” kind of dressing. I promise you it’s delicious and no weirder than eating canned tuna.
My dressing is not glossy, it’s separated and has floating bits in it, what happened?
- Ah, you “broke” your sauce...
Mayonnaise breaks when you have too few egg yolks for your blender to get ahold of, when you add too much or too little water and when you add the oil too fast. Toss it and start with new yolks and oil.
I’m worried about eating raw eggs.
- Raw eggs never stopped Rocky!
Well, that is a personal call but I’m still kickin! You can always buy pasteurized eggs, that just means they've been heated enough to kill off some of the bacteria.
Ramblings of a Line Cook
What does it say about me that it has taken me until this moment in my life to realize that “Caesar” is spelled with ae, not ea? Don’t answer that… Being a connoisseur of caesar salads I am rather ashamed of myself in this regard.
However, I am also ashamed of the last Caesar salad I had so we’ll call it even. I was living in Utah at the time and it was one of those days where the hanger was real and I was so tired the thought of cooking anything just made me want to weep. So I went to the store and bought a frozen pizza, some boxed greens, a bag of croutons, and a bottle of Caesar salad dressing.
As I put my pre-packaged and highly processed purchases on the grocery belt at 9:00 pm I whispered to myself “You’re still a rock star chef” before paying and driving home.
Now, the pizza was good ( I’m a sucker for DiGiorno), the croutons were apparently edible enough to snack on as I drove home, but the dressing tasted like salts boring cousin that someone had blended with yesterday’s newspaper. And that was with me being in “Eat everything” mode, so I swore off buying bottled Caesar dressing ever again.
Which brings us to this recipe… THIS recipe is for real. You plop a couple egg yolks into a blender and blend away while adding a slow stream of oil. You alternate with bits of water to keep it from getting too thick and when the mixture is creamy and glossy, you add anchovies and garlic that you chopped into a paste. You then add the juice of some freshly squeezed lemon and a heap of parmesan, you dip in for a taste and close your eyes in awe. You will also realize that buying breath mints would have been a good idea.
You will pull out the perfectly crisped, croutons that you have made from scratch because you are obviously a queen, and then you will toss the mixture together with some crisp, romaine leaves that you, in a rare moment of foresight, rinsed already and now they are dry enough to hold that delicious, caesar dressing.
Serve this salad with chicken or on its own, serve it with a glass of Pinot Grigio and a cool, evening breeze, but whatever you do, serve it with plenty of parmesan and the assurance that you have made the best caesar salad around.