Vietnameser Dressing

January 18, 2021
1 Ratings
Photo by Ty Meacham
  • Prep time 7 minutes
  • makes 1/2 cup
Author Notes

Caesar dressing was one of the first things I learned to make from scratch. Before learning how to make it, I'd tried every brand on the supermarket shelf, eventually developing a fanatical brand loyalty for Cardini's by T. Marzetti. At the time, it was the only brand in the store that actually contained egg yolk. One day, Cardini's was out of stock, and I've been making my own Caesar dressing ever since.

As a young man, there was a phase when chicken Caesar salad—with my homemade dressing and freshly toasted croûtons—was my go-to dish for impressing dates. Now as a married guy pushing 40, I'm only trying to impress one woman, and that's how this version of Caesar dressing came to be.

My wife is Vietnamese-American, so we always have a bottle of fish sauce (nuoc mam) in the house. One evening, I set out to make Caesar salad and decided—mostly out of laziness—to substitute fish sauce for the anchovy (one less thing to finely chop). To further develop the theme, I made a few more Asian-inspired additions and substitutions. The result was fantastic, with even more depth and dimension than the original.

This recipe calls for the lax method of emulsification: shaking everything in a jar. It does the job in the short run, but the dressing will separate eventually in the refrigerator. It can easily be shaken back together, but for a more stable emulsion, use a blender.

There's no Parmesan cheese in this recipe, but I do add it to the salad separately if the mood strikes. If you'd like to include grated Parmesan in the dressing itself, go right ahead.

Just like standard Caesar dressing, this variation is excellent with any kind of protein, from shrimp to chicken to hard-boiled egg. For a Southeast Asian alternative to croutons, try pan-frying shards of rice paper in a bit of oil until they puff and crisp, then scatter them on top of your dressed salad to add a pleasant crunch. —Pete Scherer

Test Kitchen Notes

Kewpie mayonnaise is one of Japan's many culinary gifts to humanity. Savory, salty, and teeming with umami in a way its Western counterpart can't always compete with (especially in Asian recipes), kewpie mayo boosts the flavor of this dressing to tangy perfection. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to four days (and drizzle on boiled eggs, potatoes, grilled vegetables, and more). —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 small nub fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon kewpie mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Use a microplane to grate the nub of ginger and garlic clove. If you don't have a microplane, use a knife to mince them as finely as possible. Add the ginger and garlic to a pint jar with a lid.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the jar, then close the lid tightly. Shake vigorously for one minute to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Drizzle over salad, or use as a dip for crudité.

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  • babushka2three
  • Jen Schultz
    Jen Schultz

2 Reviews

babushka2three February 3, 2021
Is it safe to use a raw egg yolk?
Jen S. February 2, 2021
Oooh!! Guess what I'm making for dinner tonight! I only make homemade dressings, haven't bought pre-made in years.. this may be my new favorite!