Caesar Salad

I’ve eaten my share of Caesar salads, and I can say with conviction that not all caesar dressings are created equal. There are Caesar style dressings that skip the eggs and there are dressings that use either an egg yolk or mayonnaise base. Some dressings use anchovies while others don’t. Then, there are some Caesar dressings that look and taste like Italian dressing and are served over iceberg lettuce in a taco bowl. I’m looking at you Friendlys Restaurant circa 1992.

With all of these variations, I opted for a traditional version from the Culinary Institute of America, which uses egg yolks and anchovies. Like most salad dressings, this recipe starts with a base of acid and emulsifiers. To create the base, I mashed the garlic, anchovy, salt, and pepper together and whisked in the lemon juice and egg yolk until smooth. Next, the actual emulsion is created by slowly pouring a thin stream of oil into the base whisking constantly until smooth.

Caesar Salad

To serve, I tossed whole romaine leaves with the dressing and toped with a a piece of anchovy butter toast.

Know this: While some may be skittish about using raw egg, it is necessary because it acts as an emulsifying agent and helps ensure the oil doesn’t separate out.

Classic Caesar Salad


Adapted from the Culinary Institute of America
Yields 10 appetizer servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 4 oz romaine lettuce
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • ¾ tsp salt, or as needed
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper, or as needed
  • 2 fl oz egg yolk
  • 2 fl oz lemon juice, or as needed
  • 10 fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 oz finely grated Parmesan, or as needed

Steps

Separate the romaine into leaves. Clean and dry thoroughly. Tear or cut into pieces if necessary. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To prepare the dressing, mash together the garlic, anchovy fillets, salt, and pepper in a bowl to form a relatively smooth paste. Add the egg and the lemon juice and blend well. Gradually add the olive oil, whisking as it is added to form a thick emulsion. Stir in the Parmesan. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.

For each serving, combine 2 oz of romaine with 1 fl oz dressing, tossing gently until evenly coated.

Garnish with a a piece of toast.

Anchovy Butter Croutons

By Evan Kalman
Yields 6 cups of croutons

Ingredients

  • 1 French baguette
  • 1 stick unsalted butter – softened
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 1 small clove of garlic – finely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper, or as needed
  • 1 tsp lemon juice, or as needed

Steps

In a bowl, mash the anchovy and garlic into a paste.

Cream the garlic, anchovy paste together with the butter, lemon juice, and pepper. Cover and set aside to allow the flavors to develop.

Cube the baguette and cover both sides with the butter.

Place bread under the broiler until browned on both sides.

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