View From The Glen

Monday, July 14, 2008

Oh Great Caesar!

For a few years, off and on, I've aspired to creating the perfect caesar salad dressing, and never does this seem more important that in the summertime, when the romaine lettuce is growing madly in the garden and caesar salad every other night seems a necessity rather than a luxury.

I have a couple of versions including a quick one for emergencies, which is okay but not great, and a lower fat version, which is fine for weeknights when you're trying to keep it light.

But I have long aspired to create the kind of dressing that Caesar himself could be proud of, and here it is. A Ceasar Dressing both authoritative and seductive. Often requested by friends and family who try it - and what more proof of success can you ask for than that?

Note: There is some debate as to whether caesar dressing requires anchovies or whether the Worcestershire sauce imparts enough of a flavour all on its own. The jury may still be out, but having made it sans anchovies for ages, having now added them I believe them to be the magic ingredient that gives this dressing it's tang. My verdict: Add the anchovy paste!

Caesar Salad Dressing:
1/4 cup oil (vegetable or olive)
2-3 tbsp Parmesan cheese (grated)
1 tbsp wine vinegar (I usually use white, but red works too)
2-3 tsp Dijon mustard (grainy if possible)
2 tsp anchovy paste
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp mayonnaise (light is acceptable)

Whisk together all ingredients except mayo. Whisk in mayo last. I usually make up double the recipe.

Caesar Salad
Tear up a head or two of Romaine Lettuce. Cook 2-3 strips of bacon until crunchy and crumble into salad. Toss Salad with Homemade croutons (Cut up stale bread, drizzle with oil and bake at 350 until crisp) and Salad Dressing to taste. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan Cheese if required.

If making ahead, take croutons and dressing with you and toss just before serving otherwise croutons will get soggy.

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