My Classic Caesar

By • May 9, 2010 21 Comments

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Author Notes: I’ve made countless Caesar salads in my lifetime, some with fried oysters or with breaded, deep fried cubes of pork belly confit in place of croutons, some deconstructed and served with a runny egg on top, but at heart, I’m a purist. To me a good Caesar is all about a dressing made with the freshest egg yolks from pastured chickens, plenty of garlic and anchovies, homemade croutons, and the best olive oil you can buy. When I started making Caesars at home years ago, using a method taught to me by my former mother-in-law, I would lovingly smash and chop the ingredients for the dressing by hand. These days I make things easier on myself and let my food processor do the work for me. This is best mixed and served in a big wooden salad bowl which has been rubbed with a cut clove of garlic first, but if you don’t have one, any bowl will do. - lastnightsdinner lastnightsdinner

Food52 Review: Lastnightsdinner's recipe offers everything you expect in a great Caesar salad. Most people would never know there was an anchovy or two involved -- they're fully incorporated into the creamy dressing. The croutons were tender inside and crispy on the outside, and absorbed the garlic flavor and dressing perfectly. As with most Caesar's, there's a big garlic punch. The dressing comes together quickly in a small food processor and made enough to hold for my lunch salad the next day with no loss of flavor. YUM. - MrsWheelbarrowThe Editors

Serves 2-4

Caesar Dressing

  • 2-4 fat cloves garlic
  • 4 anchovy filets
  • a big pinch of flaky sea salt
  • 2 egg yolks (reserve the whites for another use)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cups best quality extra virgin olive oil
  1. Combine the garlic and anchovies in the small bowl of a food processor, add the salt, and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the egg yolks and lemon juice then with the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until you have a smooth, creamy emulsion. Taste for seasoning and use immediately or refrigerate.

Classic Caesar Salad

  • 1.5 cups cubed country bread (about 1 inch chunks)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce
  • 1 recipe Caesar Dressing
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmagiano Reggiano, plus additional for serving
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • additional anchovies for serving (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel the garlic cloves, smash them with the side of a knife, and chop them fine. Toss the bread cubes with the garlic, olive oil, and a pinch or two of salt, place them on a sheet pan and bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. Trim the Romaine, removing any wilted outer leaves, then tear or chop into about 1 inch pieces. Rinse and dry well in a kitchen towel or a salad spinner, if you have one. Refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the salad.
  3. Just before serving, pour a bit of the dressing into a big salad bowl. Add the lettuce and toss with your hands to coat the leaves. Add the grated cheese and several grindings of black pepper, add the croutons, and drizzle more of the dressing on, again tossing so that everything is nicely coated. You can pass additional grated cheese at the table, but I like to use a vegetable peeler to shave off big shards of cheese, scattering them over the top of the salad. Serve with additional anchovies for the fearless, and finish with more freshly ground pepper if desired.

More Great Recipes: Cheese & Dairy|Vegetables|Salads

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