UPDATE: Check out this new “Master Salad Dressing Builder” post that teaches you the concepts behind a great, easy, and customizable DIY salad dressing. Also, I included some updates on this recipe. YouTube Gordon Ramsey and mayonnaise. I use 3 raw eggs now and a bit of lemon juice or vinegar to ensure that my dressing emulsifies everytime
Serving Size: For 3-4 people. One large head/heart? of romaine.
You may first want to coddle an egg (or two). (To coddle the egg(s), bring water to a boil and gently place the egg(s) in with shells intact. Keep the eggs cooking for exactly 45 seconds. No more, no less.) Then, the eggs should be removed from heat and be allowed to cool. (I may in the future consider raw eggs instead and court salmonella…but I cannot vouch for the taste, yet.)
Then, in a large mixing bowl, add the following:
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard (less if you have a good mustard)
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (don’t use cheap ones –> the cheap ones skip the aging process and use nasties like MSG and other unwholesome stuff to unsuccessfully imitate aged flavoring)
- 1 whole lemon (or 2 Tbsp of lemon juice) –> this makes the Caesar Salad very light and refreshing, as opposed to a heavy store-bought dressing. (If you wish, you can cut down to half a lemon or so, and the salad may be more hearty/musky/rustic/heavy. I cannot vouch, as I like lemon juice.)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic crushed and minced
- a few pinches of salt (or a lot more) and lots of fresh-ground pepper to taste (at least 1/2 tsp or a lot more, but then again, it’s hard to go overboard with fresh-ground pepper, IMHO)
Then add the cooled coddled eggs in.
At this point, the difficult part is to add the oil slowly so the dressing doesn’t break and can absorb and meld with the added oil. It may help to have more egg and colder oil (refrigerating beforehand). So one must be whisking like a maniac as oil is slowly added in. Aim for a nice, dressing-like consistency, but a benchmark is 1/3 cup (extra virgin) olive oil [(EV)OO] or less. Too much oil covers the fragrance of the other ingredients. It may be easier/better to use chilled oil (put in a fridge). Now, I cheat and use a Kitchen Aid mixer/beater to ensure good mixing. When this is done, and the ingredients have come together, there should be a nice smell coming out and a darker color. In my own experience with making this, though, the dressing was not as thick or dark as I expected. It was more of a slightly-dark yellow. This may be because of the generous amount of lemon juice I use, but it tastes great! So fear not! Just make sure the sauce/dressing is well blended (may take a few minutes of machine whisking). Then set it aside.
Now, I won’t micromanage, so just make sure you wisely cut or tear the Romaine lettuce into preferred sizes/shapes. If you want the dressing to stick to the lettuce and not have it pool at the bottom of the bowl, then make sure the lettuce is dry. Some have suggested blotting it with paper towels (very unenvironmental unless reuse of towels is assumed) or other towels. A salad spinner is my weapon of choice.
Next, I freshly grate my Parmesan cheese on the side. One can aim for (and exceed) 1/3 cup. Especially if you have splurged on lemon juice, you can counterbalance the light/airier citrus notes … just kidding, I’m trying to sound like a snooty foodie … basically, the heavier, muskier/pungent Parmesan or other stinky cheese can complement the lemon (without the lemon, this recipe will come off heavy and drabby).
Have the croutons ready. Be generous.
Then, add half the dressing to the salad. Toss evenly (you may want to use the largest bowl you have), and then add the croutons and Parmesan cheese, and toss some more. And then add the rest of the dressing. Then, if you wish, top off/garnish with some more Parmesan and croutons. (If this sounds suspiciously like micromanagement, then just dump the cheese, croutons, and dressing together. You are a big ____ (boy/girl: choose one), and you can decide how to toss your salad.
Take a picture if you wish (don’t you wish you could see one now?). Then …
Voilà! You now have amazing, healthier, fresher Caesar salad. This will be a lighter and more refreshing surprise for the palate if one is accustomed to using the heavier, store-bought Caesar dressing.
Optional serving suggestion: top off with a grilled/oven-roasted (lemon-rosemary, Parmesan-crusted) chicken breast.
I should give credit where credit is due: for more information, see the two sites (Reluctant Gourmet and Wikihow) that after rigorous (and arbitrary) vetting have made it as a source of consultation and inspiration. I have intelligently merged and streamlined and possibly improved upon or taken ownership of the process ingredient amounts/measurements to produce this humbly, masterful masterpiece of a recipe.
Julia Childs– Dean Chia signing off! Bon Appétit! (Am I trying too hard, or I am trying to show off/utilize my Dvórak keyboard with international dead keys?)
Oh, and if you really want pictures, next time I make this, I’ll try to remember to take a picture. But maybe no one cares and/or no one reads my blog. Oh well. ;P