Healthy Diet

The Best Caesar Salad Dressing – Ever! + Fabulous Julia Child Video

 

Cute Little Caesar + Pecorino Romano..oolala
Cute Little Caesar Dressing + Pecorino Romano…Ooo-lala

Creating the most divine blend for Caesar salad dressing is a skill that is worth mastering; don’t you think?

Who doesn’t love a great Caesar?  It’s always the first thing devoured at a party and even non-veggie loving types, can be seen circling around the Caesar enticed by  the looks and aromas of a great one.

Between us: Who ARE these non-veggie loving people? Often they are folks who grew up on the salty, overcooked canned stuff and were forced to “eat their veggies” before they could leave the table. No Judgement, here. S‘riously..that is brutal. 

Any-how, I’ve made many types of Caesar dressings over the years, including non-dairy versions, that are pretty delicious, but sometimes you just need to go all out and get your Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeser, cheeser rolling!

Play with the amount of garlic & lemon.  Fabulous Husband doesn’t like a lot of lemon – too much TANG, (dang!), so I tone it down.  You can ditch some of the anchovy, but if you take it out entirely, it really is going to be a rather milk toast version. What the he11 is milk-toast anyway? 

If you get a high quality anchovies, it tastes muy deliciouso……trust me on this.  I won’t steer you wrong.  This is serious!

Ooolalalaa
Well, Hello, Gorgeous! 

Stuff You’ll Need:

1 egg yolk
3-4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 whole high quality anchovy filets, best you can find (I like Ortiz)
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard- I like this one from France
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
2-4 cloves smashed garlic (make a paste. I use a small pestle)
1 teaspoon worcestershire ( I don’t get fancy here)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 Cup fresh parmesan – I like Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy -‘course (for non-dairy version, substitute with nutritional yeast.) 
1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil (the best you can find)
1/4 Cup rice bran oil ( new oil I like.  It’s healthy & mild tasting so it doesn’t over power OR just use the olive oil.
Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

 

The Goods.......
The Goods…….

Smash and blend the anchovies and garlic well, to a very smooth paste.

Place the anchovies & garlic into a small mini mixer thingy or food processor along with egg yolk, lemon juice, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, worcestershire, red pepper flakes.

Pulse the processor or blend on low until all of the ingredients are well blended. Not too long.

Let it sit and hang out for about 10 minutes while you sip a glass of wine or lemon water. This mellows the garlic nicely. Don’t skip this. Bossy me.

With the food processor on low, pour the oil(s) into the mixture in a slow steady stream. You can also use a whisk for all of this if you are a “whisker” type.

Add the parmesan, salt and fresh-cracked black pepper. 

Pulse a few more times to mix it all in.

Now you are all set. to roll. You can toss it over garden fresh torn romaine or butter lettuce – I’m in love with butter lettuce’s mild flavor and soft texture, with this dressing, but it’s not the classic way so don’t tell any Italians. K? 

You can also make this a day ahead and pop it in the fridge as it tastes even better the next day.

Note:
Anchovy: Get the best anchovies you can find. Store bought pastes usually have that suspicious fishy flavor. Also: tiny bits of anchovy can be unappealing in a Caesar salad. Finely slice the fillets and smash with a fork to create a smooth paste.

Note: If you are totally non-dairy (like I am most of the time), you can substitute nutritional yeast flakes for the cheese.  It actually tastes really great!

Big A$$ Important Note: It’s easy to over blend dressings in a food processor.  Olive oil turns bitter if it’s mixed too long.  Hand whisking is a nice way to go so that you can judge exactly how emulsified your dressing is before it goes too far.  If you so inclined, get out the whisk.  It’s a very Julia way to go.

[iframe id=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/SHX0pv8_JOE” align=”center”]

 

Best Caesar Salad Dressing -EVER!
Author: Lisa Spencer
Ingredients
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3-4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 whole high quality anchovy filets, best you can find (I like Ortiz)
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard- I like this one from France
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2-4 cloves smashed garlic (make a paste. I use a small pestle)
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire ( I don’t get fancy here)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 Cup fresh parmesan – I like Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy -‘course
  • 1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil (the best you can find)
  • 1/4 Cup rice bran oil ( new oil I like. It’s healthy & mild tasting so it doesn’t over power OR just use the olive oil.
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Smash and mash the anchovies and garlic to a VERY well to a very smooth paste.
  2. Place the anchovies & garlic into a small mini mixer thingy or food processor along with egg yolk, lemon juice, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, worcestershire, red pepper flakes.
  3. Pulse the processor or blend on low until all of the ingredients are well blended. Not too long.
  4. Let it sit and hang out for about 10 minutes while you sip a glass of wine or lemon water… this mellows the garlic nicely. Don’t skip this. Bossy me.
  5. With the food processor on low, pour the oils into the mixture in a slow steady stream. You can also use a whisk for all of this if you are a “whisker” type.
  6. Add the parmesan, salt and fresh-cracked black pepper.
  7. Pulse a few more times to mix it all in.
  8. Now you are all set. to roll. You can toss it over garden fresh torn romaine or butter lettuce – I’m in love with butter lettuce’s mild flavor and soft texture, with this dressing, but it’s not the classic way so don’t tell any Italians. K?
  9. You can also make this a day ahead and pop it in the fridge as it tastes even better the next day.

 

I do my caesar without croutons, most of the time, but when I do go for the full gusto version I usually just buy them ready made at a fabulous local bakery a good friend owns: Avenue Bread.  They are wickedly delicious.  Get there early in the morning as they sell out quickly!

But sometimes I am in the mood to make them myself and here’s how that rolls: (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

Non, Non-Gluten
Trusty, Crusty Croutons..
Do These Flowers Make My Bread look Big?
Do these flowers make My Bread Look Big?

Delicious Croutons:

Stuff you’ll need:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon smashed & mashed garlic (about 1 medium clove)
1/2 Italian peasant loaf, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

How to make it:

Mix 1 tablespoon oil and garlic paste in small bowl; Put bread cubes in large bowl. Sprinkle with water and salt. Toss, squeezing gently so bread absorbs water. Place remaining 3 tablespoons oil and soaked bread cubes in generous sized cast iron or anodized skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring gently, until browned and crisp, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat, push croutons to sides of skillet to clear center, add garlic/oil mixture to clearing and cook with no added heat, for 10 seconds or so. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan; toss until garlic and Parmesan are nicely combined. You can also put skillet directly in the broiler to brown a bit more, directly before serving.  That’s what I do when I make them ahead.  Or when I buy them at Avenue Bread and then “pretend” make them 😉

Trusty Crusty Croutons
Author: Lisa Spencer
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smashed & mashed garlic (about 1 medium clove)
  • 1/2 Italian peasant loaf, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Instructions
  1. Mix 1 tablespoon oil and garlic paste in small bowl; Put bread cubes in large bowl. Sprinkle with water and salt. Toss, squeezing gently so bread absorbs water. Place remaining 3 tablespoons oil and soaked bread cubes in generous sized cast iron or anodized skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring gently, until browned and crisp, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  2. Remove skillet from heat, push croutons to sides of skillet to clear center, add garlic/oil mixture to clearing and cook with no added heat, for 10 seconds or so. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan; toss until garlic and Parmesan are nicely combined. You can also put skillet directly in the broiler to brown a bit more, directly before serving. That’s what I do when I make them ahead. Or when I buy them at Avenue Bread and then “pretend” make them 😉

If you try this, let me know what you think in the comments below! OR better yet, what are your favorite ways to make a Caesar? Do you have tips to share? I’d love to hear them!

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  1. This looks like a great way to make healthy, all natural Caesar salad. This looks like by far the best homemade Caesar salad dressing I’ve ever seen! I’m sure I can make this for my family and they’ll just love it!

  2. Thank you, Lisa! Ceasar salad is my favourite one, but you don’t get them properly prepared very often, many fails with dressing were in my home too 😀 I definitely will try your recipe!