Caesar salad is a bit of a naughty salad. Romaine lettuce, while tasty, has almost no nutritional value, and apart from that we’re basically chowing on bread, cheese, and mayonnaise. If caesar salad isn’t going to be good for me, it needs to be as delicious as possible. Luckily, I’ve perfected the art of garlicky, cheesy, peppery, tastebud-punching caesar dressing.
Caesar dressing was the first emulsified sauce I made in a food processor, and it was a bit life-changing. Watching a bunch of flavorings mixed with egg yolk and a lot of oil slowly turn from a splattery liquid to a creamy, rich dressing was like discovering a hidden (tiny) super power. None of these things are inherently creamy, but I push this button and they become so.
The secret is in the yolk. Really it’s not secret, just science, but the fact that I don’t understand it makes it sort of like a mysterious secret.
And here’s the dressing after adding the oil:
This dressing is strong enough that you don’t need a ton, but let’s be honest, you will probably use a ton.
Homemade Caesar Dressing
2-4 anchovies (or 1-1 1/2 tsp anchovy paste, use just a tiny bit if you’re scared but you really won’t taste it)
1 medium clove garlic
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup neutral flavored oil (I like organic sunflower oil)
1 cup parmesan grated with a microplane (less if using a larger grater)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Add the first six ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until liquified and well combined.
2. Scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl and re-fit the lid (make sure you use a lid with some kind of bowl-access hole). With the processor running, stream in the oil very slowly. It should take you over a minute to add all of the oil.
3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again. Your dressing should be quite thick at this point. Add your parmesan cheese and pulse a few times to combine. Taste and add salt if necessary and lots of black pepper.
4. Serve in a salad with chopped romaine lettuce, homemade croutons (get a french loaf, cut or tear it to pieces, coat with olive oil, toss with salt, bake at 375 until golden brown) and extra parmesan and pepper.