The Perfect Caesar Salad

by zesty on November 10, 2008 · 26 comments

Well it’s Monday again!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  I thought I would take some time today to share with you a classic recipe that can be made a thousand different ways.  “Caesar Salad”, can be served as a classic side dish or even as a main course.  This post will go through tips and techniques that I use, as well as the recipe to a great Caesar dressing that will be sure to have your friends talking for ages.

Of course, keep in mind this is my own personal preference and by all means I would love your feedback with your ideas on your favorite Caesar salad.

Tips and Techniques

One of the hardest things to perfect when making a Caesar salad is finding the right balance between the dressing and the lettuce.  If the salad is too wet it becomes soggy and if it doesn’t have enough dressing it tastes bland.   Tip : The best way to avoid this from happening is to first of all make the salad dressing in a large separate bowl and place the prepared lettuce and green onion mixture in another bowl. Then once ready, pour the dressing a little at a time, onto the lettuce mixture until the desired wetness is reached.  The lettuce pieces should only be lightly coated.  Left over dressing can be used for another day.

Salad

  • 2 Heads Romaine Lettuce, wash the lettuce and tear into bite-sized pieces (Note: Do not cut with a knife as it will cause the edges to brown faster).
  • 4-5 green onion tops, cut into 1/4″ pieces.
  • 1/4 Cup crumbled bacon (cooled).
  • 1 Cup Croutons.

Tip: Spin the lettuce pieces dry in a salad spinner and place in a large mixing bowl.  It is important that the dressing not become diluted with water from the lettuce (ie. make sure the lettuce is dry).

Croutons, Parmesan Cheese, Garlic, Lemons, Olive Oil

Use a good quality croutons made specifically for Caesar salads.  There are a variety of good packaged croutons available at your local supermarket.  If not, you can always cube up some homemade bread you had left over, drizzle with some olive oil and bake off a batch at 400 degrees.

Tip: Always use fresh, finely ground Parmesan cheese, fresh garlic, and a fresh whole lemon and extra virgin olive oil for best results.

Mixing Process

As mentioned earlier, the wetness of the salad is very important.  It takes a “surprisingly” little amount of dressing on the lettuce and green onion mixture to get the correct wetness level.  The best way to get the right level is to pour a small amount of dressing over the mixture, then using a wooden spoon and fork, start mixing in one small area of the bowl from the top to the bottom of the bowl with a ‘pawing’ action. Move around the bowl doing one small area at a time.  Keep an eye on the dressing level – lightly coated is what you’re going for.

Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing

  1. The initial part of the salad making process is to grind into a paste the following ingredients:
    • 4-5 medium Garlic Cloves
    • 2-3 Tsp. Seasoning Salt
    • 1/4 Tsp. Black Pepper
  2. Cutting the garlic into small pieces will make it easier to grind into a paste. Place the garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle with some of the seasoning salt on top prior to slicing it – it will act as an abrasive and slice easier… then crush it.

  3. Add to the Paste into Bowl
    • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
    • 2 Tbsp. Dry White Wine
    • 2 Tsp. Dijon Mustard
    • 2 Tsp. Anchovy paste
    • Juice for 3/4 Medium Lemon
    • 1 Egg Yolk
  4. Stir the ingredients very well.
  5. Add to this mixture 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (add slowly while stirring constantly) while continuing to add 1/4 Cup of mayonnaise.
  6. Mix well.  Whip the mixture up the sides of the bowl to ensure a good blend.
  7. Mix the cheese into the dressing and let it stand for a few minutes.  It is now ready to be poured over the lettuce mixture.
    • 2 Tsp. Fresh Fine ground Parmesan Cheese
  8. Once you have reached the desired wetness level, sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese, add 1 Cup of Croutons.
  9. Toss the Salad to complete the process.
  10. Enjoy!

Wow, that was long-winded.  That maybe the longest post in zesty history but I really wanted to share all that with everyone.  I also would like to hear, what everyone enjoys in their Caesar salads.  I know there are tons of different flavors and variations so I cannot wait to see them all.

Have a great start of the week!

zesty

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