I am not a big salad eater. I think it is partially because cleaning and chopping lettuce is one of my least favorite things to do in the kitchen. However, I always enjoy a good Caesar salad.
We have been making the Caesar salad recipe in this post for years. We found the original on Cooks.com after husbands dad lost “the steak book” which contained a great recipe that he had been using.
The original recipe has been adapted over time to fit our tastes. I think it makes one of the best, if not the best, Caesar salad I have ever had. A friend recently said that the one thing he hates about this dressing is that it ruins all other Caesar dressings for him. It has a great spiciness from the garlic with just a hint of anchovy and a light yet creamy texture from the cheese and coddled egg. The homemade croutons, which are an original, really round out the salad nicely.
There are different schools of thought on how a Caesar salad dressing should be made, and if you are interested in reading about them and the origin of Caesar salad.
Like any other salad, you can add whatever protein you fancy. This particular night we added some leftover cornish hen meat. We have eaten this with chicken, shrimp, and steak – it would probably be just as good with salmon, turkey, etc. It is a great way to use up leftovers, or you could just eat it plain.
Caesar Salad Dressing
5-6 cloves of garlic, halved
6 anchovy filets
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 coddled egg
2 Tbsp. parmigianno cheese
2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Place all items in the food processor and blend until the anchovies are finely chopped.
Chill for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Yes, it’s that easy. You should know that the amount of garlic in this recipe will be noticeable and will produce a dressing with some kick. This is what we like, but you should definitely adjust the garlic to your preference.
Also, please don’t be turned off by the anchovies. Even if you think you don’t like them, chances are you have eaten a Caesar salad dressing with them in it and did not even know. While they are gross to look at and handle (I always let out an involuntary “yuck” when I scoop them out of the jar), they give the dressing body and a fleeting hint of anchovy flavor.
For those of you who may not be familiar with coddling an egg, don’t be worried, it couldn’t be easier. Coddling is basically a light poaching. Heat some water (enough to cover an egg) in a small saucepan. When the water is just boiling, crack the egg into the water and let it cook for about 1 minute. It will still be quite raw when it is ready to come out. Scoop it out with a slotted spoon and dump it right into the processor. I normally boil my water while I prepare the other ingredients, so as soon as the egg is done the whole mixture is ready to be processed.
Here is my egg being coddled.
Here are all my ingredients ready to be annihilated in the food processor.
Of course, romaine hearts are the traditional lettuce in a Caesar salad.
Now onto croutons. These are so simple to make and so much better than anything you can buy in a box. They are very versatile (it’s just some bread after all), so you can adjust the flavors to your taste. Below is the way we normally make them.
1/2 baguette, preferably a day or two old
1 Tbsp. garlic basil olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 300F.
Dice your baguette into cubes. We use a baguette because it has an ideal crust to bread ratio. However, you could use any loaf of bread that you have around. To slice, cut the baguette in thirds lengthwise, then cut crosswise to dice in 1 or 2 inch cubes. It is important to cut them in same size pieces so that they cook and brown uniformly.
Heat the olive oil and butter in an oven safe pan. When the pan is hot, add the bread cubes and toss to coat as much of the bread as possible. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Saute the cubes for about 5 minutes or until they start to turn golden brown.
Grate some parmigianno cheese over the cubes and place the pan right into the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes. The end game here is to dry them out a bit and allow them to brown some more. They will look and smell ready, just don’t forget about them in the oven or they will burn.
Here they are before going into the oven.
A creamy dressing, crisp romaine hearts, crunchy homemade croutons, parmigianno shavings; now that’s a salad that even I want to eat.