Allen Miglore's Caesar Salad

June 16, 2015
11 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Serves 4 (you'll want seconds)
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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Texas Ex
    Texas Ex
  • Cheri W-F
    Cheri W-F
  • Brighton
  • erinrae
  • ediet
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

35 Reviews

Lela A. June 7, 2022
I adore this salad! I've made it so many times for friends, family, and myself. It's glorious in its vagueness, and I've adapted it countless times. I make it depending on my mood and what's in the fridge. Its my absolute go-to Caesar salad recipe.
Chezmaryb May 24, 2022
I want to say about 15 years ago I had a Caesar salad at a restaurant that I could never replicate. It was all the same flavors but light like a vinaigrette instead of heavy and creamy. A couple years ago I found this recipe, and this is it. My go-to recipe, made over and over again; a big deal for someone like me who trys hundreds of new recipes every year!
Texas E. November 28, 2019
Thanks for a wonderful recipe. This was a hit as an accompaniment to Scott Conant's Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil. Since romaine is not available right now, I used a mix of kale and escarole, which was just fine. The dressing is the star--well-balanced and not at all overpowering.
handeg July 23, 2019
I've been on a Caesar salad kick, but don't like eggs, so this recipe is perfect for me. I've made this multiple times both as a side and as a lazy dinner entree. I've found that it lacks some of the creaminess that I associate with Caesar dressing, so I've been adding 1/2-1 tablespoon of tahini which not only adds creaminess but also a delicious nutty flavor.
Lela A. June 7, 2022
Ohhhh - that sounds amazing! I don't do eggs/dairy, and that seems like a perfect solution.
Cheri W. June 14, 2017
Great new variation. I love Caesar salads and often will also ask for more lemon at restaurants. Have even thought of bringing my own anchovies in a little container to add...LOL. Learned to make this in the early 1970's working at The Roosevelt Hotel in downtown Seattle. Also at table side. I make a Caesar using limes instead of lemons...figured that the original was possibly made with limes, as it came from Tijuana, and in Mexico limes are the go to citrus for many things. I agree with your Dad...lots of garlic, fresh pepper, and lots of anchovies. Will try some worcestershire and celery. I have never liked the croutons and never thought of a substitute. Good idea. In the past I have also switched out good quality bacon, sliced across the rashers and fried crispy for the anchovies.
beejay45 July 10, 2017
Your comment reminds me that I had a Caesar salad at a Mexican Restaurant where they say they used the original south of the border recipe -- crema instead of egg yolk. It was just a little more creamy than when made with egg yolk but otherwise it was all delicious. Wish I could have gotten the entire recipe from them, not just the crema swap. ;) Last time I went there before I moved, I ordered two salads for my meal. Strangely, my friends were embarrassed. LOL!
Brighton June 14, 2017
This is very close to how I make Caesar salad. I always mash the anchovy into a paste and add some pieces after the salad is dressed. The only exceptions are no celery and dijon mustard in place of the vinegar. Its addictive!
erinrae September 24, 2016
Fantastic! I use a whole large lemon or two little ones. I've also tried it with a tiny bit of dijon to emulsify, which was quite nice as well. Thanks for this!
beejay45 February 23, 2016
Oh, I used to fantasize about the Caesar salads at the Ritz Old Poodle Dog in San Francisco, made tableside and hot-hot-hot with fresh garlic. I only wish the place had stuck around longer (in that form). By the time I was old enough to be going out to restaurants with friends, it was on its way out. You do know, you raw egg yolk fearers, that its easy to pasteurize the whole egg or buy them that way AND that the acidity in vinegar or lemon juice also serves to "cook" the raw egg? Scientific facts: acidity and heat are marvelous things.
lighthouse6 July 13, 2018
Actually, that is not quite accurate. The fear with raw egg yolk is salmonella (not that common is high quality eggs anyway) but acid in lemon juice will NOT pasteurized the egg or kill the bacteria. It will change it but if contaminated do nothing to make it safe. It's the same with ceviche - the citrus does not really cook the raw fish. If it was contaminated it will still be so : ( That said, I love to make it and have never been sick - whew!
beejay45 July 13, 2018
Please note that I said, "...pasteurize the whole egg or buy them that way AND that the acidity in vinegar or lemon juice...," even capitalized the AND to avoid confusion. Pasteurization involves heat. Acidity is something entirely different. BTW, I got that info from and FDA page where food professionals could get their questions answered. Also, that's only talking about the egg inside the shell.

It's always a good idea to give the eggs, still in their shells, a good rinse and gentle dry. There can (and will) be all sorts of things on the outside of the shell which can easily end up in with the egg when it's cracked. How many times have you separated an egg and had the white run down the outside of the shell? Maybe a more easily quantifiable answer would be, how many times have you cracked an egg, period, without some getting on the outside of the shell?

As you say with ceviche, so too with eggs, know your source and be sure of freshness and careful handling. It always amazes me that we all trust sushi without giving it a thought. ;) Yes, I'm included in that "we" although I'm more a sashimi girl.
lighthouse6 July 14, 2018
Oops sorry. Didn't mean to step on toes, I hear what you are saying but wanted to clarify the misconceptions. You are correct in using pasteurized eggs (only) if you care about this. It is important to know that one cannot pasteurized eggs at home and still have a runny egg. A coddled eggs is not pasteurized. You have to cook the egg yolk through to achieve a "safe" egg and that totally is not what we want here. Secondly, just to educated people at home that do not go to the FDA site or the CDC for that matter. NEVER wash your eggs in cold water. Egg shells are VERY porous and washing the outside in cold water can draw any bacteria into to egg before you even crack the shell. Salmonella for that matter can already be inside the developing egg (this is a big concern), before it is laid, which is why lightly boiling an egg will not make it safe. I know where my eggs come from and I have no problem with eating raw but the correct info. should be out there for those that do not know. From the CDC: Poultry may carry bacteria such as Salmonella that can contaminate the inside of eggs before the shells are formed. Eggs can also become contaminated from the droppings of poultry through the laying process or from the environment (e.g., contaminated poultry feed or bedding).
Cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm. Egg dishes should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) or hotter.
Make sure that foods that contain raw or lightly cooked eggs, such as hollandaise sauce, Caesar salad dressing, and tiramisu, are made only with pasteurized eggs.
ediet January 14, 2016
A classic Caesar or not, this is a DELICIOUS salad. We practically licked the bowl to get every scrumptious drop. Thank you!
My neighbor gave me a head of celery she grew in her garden, so I've been looking for ways to use it where the fresh flavor stands out. Your dad's salad was the perfect showcase. I loved the crunch of celery instead of croutons, very refreshing in the heat of summer. And the dressing was delicious too. All the right flavors for a brand new (to me) version of Caesar salad, a favorite of mine. Thanks for sharing!
Maria July 22, 2015
I loved this so much I stood over the bowl eating pinches of deliciousness before I realized that if I continued...there would be none left. Fantastic - a go to for me.
Leah July 14, 2015
Does anyone know how long this would this keep in the fridge if I wanted to make some ahead of time? Sounds delicious, but I can't imagine making a new batch every time I want a Caesar salad. (Which is all the time.)
Kristen M. July 15, 2015
At home, my dad always made it in the bottom of the salad bowl, so it was always by default limited to that salad. I imagine it would hold up well for a few days, but the lemon and garlic flavors might start to fade. But just think: once you start measuring loosey-goosey like my dad, you'll be able to bust this out whenever you're in the mood.
Glenyse July 9, 2015
Hi Kristen,
Can you suggest a substitute for the anchovies to make this vegetarian? I love your Dad's version, but would like to make it for my vegetarian boyfriend too.
Kristen M. July 9, 2015
I've heard of olives and capers both being a great briny substitute for anchovies. I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that Worcestershire has anchovies in it too, though some vegetarians make exceptions for it! As long as you have lemon, garlic, olive oil, and salt, you'll have a tasty salad dressing, even if it becomes something a little different.
Glenyse July 22, 2015
Thank you Kristen for those suggestions...and thanks for letting me know there are anchovies in Worcestershire, I never knew it!
Andreea November 24, 2015
You can get vegan Worcestershire sauce online pretty cheaply, if it's something you enjoy eating / putting in your salad look it up.
beejay45 February 23, 2016
A tiny bit of miso will give you a similar flavor profile and lots of umami.
tamater S. June 16, 2016
I used to buy a vegan Worchestire from the HF store, called 'Wizard' that was great. Cute bottle with a picture of a wizard on it.
kantcould June 19, 2015
Don't mean to be smug but I think the consensus is that Caesar's rules rule. I'm not hidebound and will try any adaptation of a classic that is truly innovative and not just a lazy shortcut. What's next? Spam Wellington? Ruth Bourdain -- where are you when we need you?
Susan June 19, 2015
Not to be disrespectful to your Dad, but all i could taste was the balsamic. Not a bad dressing, but not really a Caesar. Sorry...
Kristen M. June 23, 2015
Thanks for your comment and I'm sorry it was out of balance -- I've talked it over with my dad and he does use less balsamic than Worcestershire, so I've updated the measurement to 2 teaspoons. Brands do vary a lot (as do garlic cloves and lemons!), so adjusting to taste in step 4 is important.
Karen B. June 18, 2015
Made this last night and loved it. Great alternative and easy to make. We didn't have fresh Parmesan so we used the canned stuff. Took the suggestion of adding some to the dressing and it made it perfectly creamy. Kantcould, the anchovy paste was great. Don't knock it until you have tried it. I recommend this recipe to anyone who enjoys the bright flavors of Caesar.
Chris F. June 18, 2015
Overpowering Worcestershire. Eek. Will use 1/2 tbsp next time.
Otherwise, very nice.
Kristen M. June 23, 2015
Thanks for your comment and sorry it was off balance for you. My dad loves Worcestershire (and so do I) -- he says he compromises with my mom on that front by adding extra garlic.
Mar P. June 18, 2015
I've never seen a Cesar's Salad with celery.
kantcould June 17, 2015
"No creamy dressing and no egg" = no Caesar. O.K. this is a nice salad but Caesar Salad? No way. There are permissible substitutes for health reasons -- like a dollop of good mayonnaise for the raw egg yolk -- but a classic is a classic, and there are rules. Anchovy paste? Yuckk. If celery, why not celery root? And where the hell are the croutons?
Traveler June 17, 2015
This sounds wonderful! No creamy dressing and no egg. Perfect!