Completely Homemade Easy Caesar Salad and Dressing

So anchovies are an acquired taste type of product.  I have tried them whole on top of a pizza.  Not a fan.  But, slow cooked in a puttanesca sauce or mixed into a Caesar salad dressing and the fishy, salty little creatures make the meal.  I have tried to “melt” them whole into sauces, but I find they don’t completely melt.  I am though a fan of anchovy paste.  Just keep a tube of the paste in your fridge and you have an easy way to add the umami flavor that anchovies help build.

I always thought this dressing would be hard, but honestly it is really easy.  I decided to use mayonnaise as a raw egg substitute because my eggs were not fresh.  But, if you are a healthy individual, the raw egg is the way to go to be extremely classic on this salad.   At the core, this dressing is really an aioli (mayonnaise) with Parmesan cheese and anchovy added to it.

As far as the croutons, I cut up the bread and then gently pulsed it in the food processor.  This made the croutons smaller.  Like a cross between a crouton and a bread crumb.  About the size of pumpkin seeds.  I liked this because croutons tend to be to hard and crunchy and hurt my mouth.  Plus, when they are big I don’t find them as flavorful.  When the are smaller the seasonings are more predominant and the small pieces of crunchy bread are delightful.

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Since this salad is very simple with very few ingredients, you should really use the best ingredients you can afford.  Fresh Parmesan, good olive oil, fresh lemon juice.  Rustic bread and your best salt and fresh ground pepper.  Fresh is key.  I also like to cut up my own romaine hearts for this salad.  I am a fan of really bite size pieces for this salad and the only way to do that is to cut the lettuce yourself.

Caesar Dressing for Salad

Caesar Salad

  • 2 Romaine Hearts (chopped into bite size pieces)
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 cup Homemade Croutons (recipe below)
  • 1/4 – 1/3 Homemade Caesar Dressing (recipe below)
  1. Put the chopped romaine lettuce into a large mixing (or salad) bowl.  Add the Parmesan Cheese, croutons and 1/4 cup of dressing.  Gently toss with salad utensils until combined.  If needed add more dressing 1 tbsp at a time till all salad leaves are gently covered with dressing.  Serve Immediately

Croutons

  • 2 cups of torn Crusty Bread
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • Salt to taste
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the torn crusty bread into your food processor.  Gently pulse until you get the bread pieces the size of pumpkin seeds.  Put the bread pieces and the crumbs into a mixing bowl.  Add the olive oil and salt.  Gently combine and add a little more oil if needed.  You want the bread coated but not drenched.
  3. Lay the oiled bread pieces on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes.  Make sure you toss them every 5 minutes during that time so they brown evenly.
  4. Let them cool and you can store them in a container at room temperature for about a week.

Caesar Salad Dressing

  • 2 cloves of fresh minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp Anchovy Paste
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • The zest and juice of 1 Fresh Lemon
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 tsp each of Salt and Pepper (or to taste)
  1. In a food processor, place the garlic, anchovy paste, mustard, zest, juice, Worcestershire, mayonnaise, cheese, salt and pepper.  Turn food processor on.
  2. Slowly drizzle the 1/2 cup of olive oil into the top of the food processor.  Keep on till combined.  You may want to turn it off once, scrape the sides and then pulse a few more times so everything emulsifies together nicely.
  3. Put into a container with lid and store in your refrigerator until service.  Will last for one week in the refrigerator.

Caesar Salad pairs wonderfully with grilled meats for a main course or as a starter for any pasta meal.  Now go and make a family night dinner of your own…Clink!

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