My Classic Caesar


Test Kitchen-Approved

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

Ingredients

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

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)
In This Recipe

Directions

Caesar Dressing

  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. 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:
Salad|Salad Dressing|Anchovy|Cheese|Clove|Lettuce|Vegetable|Sheet Pan

Reviews (22) Questions (0)

22 Reviews

Susan L. October 31, 2017
I made double this recipe, and the dressing is very thick...I reread the recipe<br />in addition to the caesar dressing do I also add 2 garlic cloves and more olive<br />oil? And how soon can I take the dressing out of the fridge since it has eggs<br />and I want to bring the dressing to room temp? I'm serving this tonight, so if you can let me know asap that would be great!!
 
TaraP January 24, 2015
I've been looking for a go-to Caesar salad recipe for years and now my hunt is over. I used a blender and it came together in a snap.
 
cheese1227 September 17, 2010
Hi LastNight'sDinner, <br /> <br />I've got some folks who are freaked out by raw eggs. Could I get them to 180 degrees over a water bath and then add them and get the same sort of results here. I love the simplicity of this dressing and the taste but have to accommodate these guests.
 
pierino September 17, 2010
Try using pasteurized eggs. Carton should be prominently marked with a "P". I think that will solve your egg freak-out problem.
 
cheese1227 September 17, 2010
We used the commercial version of past. egg yolksi n cooking school, but I have yet to find them in a retial establishment, at least not here in central PA.
 
Author Comment
lastnightsdinner September 17, 2010
I don't see why not - if you try it, please let me know how it worked out?
 
CarlaCooks May 13, 2010
I made your dressing today. After mixing all the ingredients, I tasted it and thought, "Wow, that isn't at all what I was expecting." I then looked at the tin of anchovies I used and realized I had used sardines. I don't recommend it.<br />I can't wait to actually try your recipe with all the correct ingredients!
 
Author Comment
lastnightsdinner May 12, 2010
Thanks, everyone! I have to say that just tonight I served this to my parents, and they had no idea there were anchovies in the dressing until I told them - after they finished their salads, of course, sneaky me :) They loved it!
 
mrslarkin May 12, 2010
This sounds so perfect. Can't wait to try it!
 
Lizthechef May 12, 2010
Thumbs up!
 
pierino May 11, 2010
It's never wrong to stay true to the classics. Good luck!
 
Author Comment
lastnightsdinner May 11, 2010
Thank you!
 
dymnyno May 10, 2010
Sounds wonderful...just got to Atlanta for a few days...hope that I can find somewhere tonight to have a Caesar Salad!
 
Author Comment
lastnightsdinner May 11, 2010
Thanks - enjoy Atlanta!
 
guineverek May 9, 2010
This is making my mouth water. I love a really good fresh Caesar salad!
 
Author Comment
lastnightsdinner May 9, 2010
Thank you!
 
MrsWheelbarrow May 9, 2010
I am growing romaine and just peeked out to the garden to see if I have enough for salad. Two more days until I can try this - what looks to be the perfect recipe. Thanks, Jen!
 
Author Comment
lastnightsdinner May 9, 2010
Thanks, and I hope you like it! I'm actually making it later this week while my parents are here visiting :)
 
WinnieAb May 9, 2010
Looks like a perfect Caesar salad to me!
 
Author Comment
lastnightsdinner May 9, 2010
Thanks, Winnie!
 
Author Comment
lastnightsdinner May 9, 2010
When I first tried my ex mother-in-law's version, I was a confirmed anchovy hater, and I was really surprised at how they just blended into the dressing. If I didn't know they were there I probably wouldn't have guessed, and I've been making my Caesars with anchovies ever since. You can certainly dial them down to start if you're concerned that they'll be too much, starting with one or two and then increasing the amounts from there until you find what works for you.
 
kr2160 May 9, 2010
This looks delicious. Do you need to really love anchovies to make this version? I'm a bit on the fence on them, in terns of how much intensity of the flavor I like.