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Classic Caesar Salad

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Serves four to six.

  • by Susie Middleton from Fine Cooking
    Issue 104

There are several stories about the creation of this iconic salad. But whatever its true origins, making one at home is as simple as shopping for the best ingredients and making your own homemade croutons and dressing.

CooksClub Members: Watch the Video Recipe to see a demonstration of how each componant of this Classic Caesar Salad comes together.

For the dressing
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 oil-packed anchovies
  • 4 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (1/2 cup)
Tip:
Note: This recipe contains a raw egg. If that’s a concern, use a pasteurized egg.
For the salad
  • 2-3/4 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce (about 1 lb., 6 oz.), trimmed, quartered lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1- to 1-1/2 -inch strips (12 to 13 cups), washed and dried
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 recipe Garlic-Butter Croutons
Make the dressing

In a liquid measuring cup, combine the canola and olive oils. Put the remaining dressing ingredients except the Parmigiano in a blender and blend until thoroughly combined. With the motor running on medium high, carefully pour in the oils in a slow, steady stream. The dressing will emulsify as soon as all of the oil is incorporated. Stop the motor, add the Parmigiano, and quickly blend to combine. (You can store the dressing, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)

Make the salad

Cut the Parmigiano into small cubes and pulse it in a small food processor until coarsely grated to the consistency of large pieces of sand (not too fine). Alternatively, grate the cheese on the small round holes of a box grater.

Put the lettuce in a large salad bowl. Drizzle a scant 1/3 cup of the dressing over the lettuce and toss well. Taste and add more dressing if necessary, a teaspoon or so at a time, until the leaves are nicely dressed. Add 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano and toss well. Taste a leaf and add more cheese if you like or pass more at the table. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the croutons, toss well, and serve.

Leftovers

Leftover dressing is great on pasta or potato salad, or brushed on grilled chicken or fish.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 260; Fat (g): 18; Fat Calories (kcal): 160; Saturated Fat (g): 9; Protein (g): 8; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6; Carbohydrates (g): 17; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Sodium (mg): 760; Cholesterol (mg): 45; Fiber (g): 4;

Photo: Scott Phillips

My first time making Caesar from scratch and we loved it, I will however pour the oil in faster so that it is not so thick as it made it difficult to toss. Since I don't keep white bread in the house, I used store bought Caesar croutons to save time and it was just fine. Due to the dressing being so thick, the best way to toss it is to spread the dressing in the bottom of the salad bowl, add the lettuce and toss. This way the lettuce is easier to coat because you are picking it up off the bottom as you toss rather than trying to mix a blob into it. Then add your remaining ingredients. One thing though, the burp from it later was really nasty when eaten by itself. Don't know what was up with that.

We have made this many times. I don't find the dressing too thick or to garlicky (is there any such thing?). We've also mixed the dressing with cut-up chicken (leftover from a roast chicken) and put on rolls or in pitas with lettuce to make caesar chicken sandwiches. Yum!

I made this for the first time for a dinner party and thought it was fabulous. It was a little thick, but that was easily remedied by adding just a tad of water and no problem any more. The taste was just like a ceasar salad I would order in a restaurant, nice and garlicky. I sprinkled freshly grated parmesan over the top and even used purchased croutons (I was in a hurry), and the salad was wonderful. I will definitely be making this one again.

The dressing is thick - an easy problem to solve - but way to garlicy. I made it a second time with half the garlic and we enjoyed the salad. Also used less butter (roughly half) on the croutons - fantastic! Great dinner with grilled salmon and a crusty bread.

Excellent dressing recipe, had depth of flavor you expect in the finest restaurants. I made it a while ago and have been thinking about it so begged my dinner party tomorrow to let me bring it...

Alright, The dressing was rather thick, neck time I'll make it with an immersion blender. or double the dressing recipe. The dressing was tasty enough, but not the best I've had. Croutons were delicious. I ended up using the extras as breadcrumbs. If you don't already have a favorite recipe, this isn't a bad place to start.

I was rather disappointed with this recipe. The dressing was too thick and lacked the depth of flavors I think so important to a good Caesar. So I will go back to my favorite way of making the dressing in a wooden salad bowl just prior to tossing. I also will use only good olive oil. The canola oil made the dressing taste like supermarket bottled dressing and I don't think doing the dressing ahead in a blender helped either. The flavors got lost . On the plus side, the croutons were delicious....thanks to an obscene amount of butter!

This dressing was fantastic, and the croutons were amazing! We topped it with some grilled chicken for a quick dinner, with just enough left over for lunch the next day. This is my new favorite caesar salad recipe.

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