Hail Caesar!

I love Caesar Salads. I love them creamy, cheese-y, and extra anchovy-y.  I kinda take pleasure in serving it to people who have a minor freak-out when they realize (for the first time) that Caesar dressing is made with anchovies and they come to terms with the fact they just ate anchovies.  But, the truth is, anchovies are delicious.  I use them in so much – just slathered on some toasted bread as a snack , as a base for sauces, pizza, and of course Caesar dressing.

I made Caesar Salad this weekend, but did a bit of a short-cut.  I had worked in the yard all day and was tired and just could not get myself to make the mayonnaise from scratch.  But, a little Hellman’s will do just fine in a pinch!

Caesar Salad

Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced capers
  • 1 tablespoon minced anchovies

Minced garlic, capers, and anchovies

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 4 slices sturdy bread, cut up in to little pieces for croutons
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large head Romaine Lettuce (or 2 small heads – just kinda eye it out to what seems appropriate for 4 people), washed, outer junky leaves removed, and cut up to fairly equal bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

Some of my ingredients

 

Combine garlic, capers, anchovies, mayo, and mustard in bowl with a whisk.  Slowly whisk in olive oil and then lemon juice.  Season with some fresh cracked black pepper.

Taste for balance – if it seems a tad “zingy”, that’s ok because the Parmesan cheese will balance it.  If it seems very zingy, add a little more olive oil.  If it seems a little flat, add a little more mustard or lemon juice.  Once it seems pretty close to right, add your Parmesan cheese, adding more until you feel good about its taste.

For croutons, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Toss cut up bread with melted butter and season with salt and pepper.  Spread on sheet pan and cook in oven , stirring a few times during cooking, about 8-10 minutes, or until toasty brown and crunchy.  Let cool thoroughly on the sheet pan after removing from oven.

To assemble salad, add Romaine to a large salad/mixing bowl.  Mix in 3 – 4  tablespoons dressing and mix thoroughly.  Taste a leaf of lettuce to determine if it has enough dressing. If not, add more and toss again.  You want it pretty well coated because you still have to add the croutons and they will soak up some of the dressing.

Add croutons and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese to salad.  Stir it all up and taste.  Determine if it needs more dressing or cheese or if it is just right.

Serve and finish with just another small dusting of cheese.

My Notes:

  • I like my Caesar salad to be nice and chilled (except for croutons – they are just fine room temp).  Even if I do parts of it in advance (cut up lettuce, grate cheese, make dressing), I keep those items in the fridge until ready to be assembled.
  • When I use store-bought Mayo, I use Hellman’s for most all things. I used to be die-hard Miracle Whip, but the sweetness finally started wearing on my nerves and it threw off the taste of things I made with it and would end up being the only thing I could taste.  I do still use it for deviled eggs and once in a blue moon on a sandwich, but, other than that, Hellman’s is almost always my go-to.
  • For the bread, use something that has a fairly firm crust and heavy weight.  If you use something extremely light, it will be hard to have the croutons keep their shape – the bread will just mash up as you cut it.  Or, just use day or two-day old bread as it will have lost some of it’s fresh moisture.
  • When I toss up the salad with the dressing, croutons, and cheese, I just use my hands.  I feel like that lets me really work the dressing into each piece of lettuce.

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2 responses to “Hail Caesar!

  1. How funny. I also had Caesar on my brain today. Nice photos… you remembered the croutons! Interesting take with the capers.

  2. This has made me want a salad 1:16AM. I love the photo.

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