Allen Miglore's Caesar Salad

June 16, 2015
Photo by Mark Weinberg
Author Notes

This dressing is a fiery beast, fueled by lemon, garlic, and anchovy—with no egg, and nothing creamy to interrupt. When my dad developed his technique in Northern California in the 1990s—inspired by a waiter at an old-school restaurant preparing one tableside—flavors were light and big. There were no carbs and there was definitely balsamic vinegar. He never measures any of it, to my mother's chagrin, but when my brother and I were teenagers, he taught us how to make his dressing with invented visual cues. The puddle of Worcestershire should be about the size of a quarter; the balsamic, the size of a large-ish nickel, and so on. The measurements here were taken by my mom and uploaded to their own cooking website, and updated by me. But in the spirit of my dad, I hope you'll wing it. Adapted slightly from —Genius Recipes

  • Serves 4 (you'll want seconds)
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed (or grated or mashed into a paste with a pinch of salt)
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) good balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) anchovy paste or finely chopped anchovies (or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon (I always use a full lemon)
  • 1 head crisp romaine lettuce, washed, dried, torn or chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 stalk celery (2 stalks if small), sliced into half-moons
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to taste
  • Salt, if needed, and lots of freshly ground pepper to serve
In This Recipe
  1. Add garlic to a large salad bowl.
  2. Add olive oil and stir and let sit for a few minutes.
  3. Add vinegar, anchovy, Worcestershire, and lemon juice, and stir. If you'd like a thicker dressing, add half the Parmesan now. You can let this sit while you prepare the rest of your meal.
  4. Dip a lettuce leaf in to taste your dressing. If it doesn't taste fiercely of lemon juice, garlic, and anchovy, add more of those, to taste. The balsamic should be in the background.
  5. Just before serving, add lettuce and celery and toss.
  6. Add Parmesan and freshly ground pepper before a final toss.
  7. Serve immediately.

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Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Creative Director Kristen Miglore.