This salad is a classic for a reason…..it’s really good!
I’ll be honest. I never imagined I would add a Caesar salad recipe to the blog. It’s a ubiquitous staple on restaurant menus throughout the US. I figured people might be a little bored with the Caesar salad. I couldn’t imagine that this recipe would hold any interest or mystique for my readers.
Enter my husband.
My husband and I are totally different culinary creatures which might seem problematic (it is occasionally) but for the most part I enjoy the difference of opinion. My tastes lean towards provincial European and Asian fare, his are decidedly all American . So, as you might suspect, the inclusion of a Caesar salad post is highly influenced by my husband.
When he first requested that I do a post on Caesar salad, I balked but relented and decided to hear him out. He said, “Think about it, there’s a reason Caesar salad is everywhere, it’s good and people love it.”
He went on to say, “Out of all the restaurants we’ve had Caesar salad, only a few have been good or really highlight all of the ingredients. Your Caesar salad is always so good, it’s one of the best I’ve ever had. It’s one of my favorite dressings (besides Hidden Valley Ranch, lol) people will love it…. I do, and I love you too.”
Now, how could I resist such sweet words………my husband professing his love for me and my Caesar salad so here it is. I hope you enjoy it as much as he does!
- Two medium/ small romaine hearts or one large head of romaine, rinsed dried and rough chopped
- 2-4 handfuls of baby kale
- 1 loaf of rustic country, Italian or multigrain bread
- 1/4 cup of grapeseed or sunflower oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- * Feel free to omit this step and buy croutons if you're pressed for time.
- 1 cup of good quality Mayo (Caesar purists, don't kill me, everybody likes a good short cut now and again)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan or Pecorino, grated (more for serving, grated or shaved)
- 1/4 cup water
- Fresh lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon
- 1-2 medium cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped or grated (I use a microplane)
- 3 anchovy fillets packed in oil or a few squirts of anchovy paste
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of salt, if needed
To Make the Dressing
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Set aside or store in and air tight container until ready to serve. Will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.
*This recipe requires an "adjust as you go" approach. The dressing ingredient list is my base recipe and contains all the elements you need for Ceasar dressing. I find that people are highly particular about what a "good" Ceasar salad should taste like. Some like it peppery, some like it extra salty, fishy or lemony. Adjust the flavor to suit your fancy but remember, add a little extra ingredient at a time. You can always add more but you can't take it out.
To Make the Croutons
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
- Cut or tear the bread into roughly uniform, bite sized pieces and add to a medium-large bowl.
- Add the salt and pepper to the bread.
- Drizzle with the oil.
- Toss to coat the bread pieces and arrange in one layer on the baking sheet. Use two baking sheets if needed.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking process. Bake until the croutons are golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and cool to room temp. Set aside until serving or store in a paper bag. The croutons are best within the first few hours after baking but can be stored overnight in a paper bag to keep as much crispness as possible and should be used within a day.
Assembly & Serving
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the lettuce, kale and the croutons. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and pepper and toss to combine.
- Drizzle a little dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Taste the salad and repeat the drizzle, toss and taste steps until you reach your desired coverage. I like to keep the dressing on the light side as to much dressing can taste and feel heavy.
- Shave pieces of Parmesan or Pecorino over the finished salad.
- Serve family style in a large decorative salad bowl or in individual serving bowls.
- On the side, serve additional shavings of cheese. If you have leftover anchovies serve them chopped and any leftover dressing on the side, as well.
*If you're a garlic lover like me, take a garlic clove, cut off a small piece. Using the cut side of the clove, rub the inside of your serving bowls just before adding the salad. This adds an extra intense aroma and a little hint of extra garlic. Yum!
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