There are some foods out there that I can’t even believe they are allowed to market under the same name as the real stuff. Caesar dressing is one of those things. Until I made some from scratch in home-ec class, I thought Caesar was just tangy mayo with a bit of black pepper, but the reality is SO much better. In fact, this recipe is so good that my husband eats a Caesar salad for lunch every single day.
What is the one true way to make caesar dressing?
There are a lot of varieties of Caesar dressing recipes out there, all claiming to be the original or authentic or best. There are ingredients some say you have to include while others say you mustn’t. And yet in all the recipes I’ve found, not a single one has the key to the recipe I learned in home-ec all those years ago — a boiled egg.
Classic Caesar recipes use a raw egg yolk as the emulsifier — the thing that makes the dressing creamy and keeps it from separating. The problem is, the end result tastes something like mayonnaise just like the processed versions. After all, egg yolks and oil are the base ingredients of mayo too. In fact, a lot of recipes use mayonnaise in place of the egg so there’s less risk of salmonella. But with a boiled whole egg, you don’t get that greasy flavor, just creamy goodness. In fact, my sister who hates mayo, anything remotely related to mayo, or anything with even the tiniest trace of mayo in it, has tried this dressing and loves it!
The essentials, and the inessentials
As for the other ingredients: to me, Caesar is first and foremost a creamy lemon and garlic dressing, so I’ve often kept it to just the egg, lemon juice, parmesan, garlic, and oil. I’ll tell you a secret: because I make this dressing so often, I often even cut some corners (and cost) on the ingredients. While fresher parmesan will have more flavor, I save the good stuff for on top of the salad and just use the powdered kind for this. As far as oil, I use a few tablespoons of olive oil for the flavor then finish off with mostly canola oil.
In my opinion, the anchovies are optional, as are the dijon and Worcestershire. All three are there just to round out the dressing with a bit of that savory umami flavor. Plenty of critics will tell you that this is blasphemy, but what’s the point in cooking if not to make food that is delicious to you? Feel free to play around with it and see what you like best.
Delicious salad and more
The beauty of a Caesar salad is in its simplicity. All you really need for a Caesar salad is some Romaine lettuce, croutons, and parmesan. To make it a meal, finish it off with some grilled chicken or fish.
Some people like to add hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, and who knows what else. I really can’t fault them, the dressing is so good, why not put it on everything? It’s even delicious tossed with pasta!
Lemony Caesar Salad Dressing
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 cup Lemon Juice
- 3-6 cloves Garlic
- 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1 cup Oil
- Salt & Pepper - to taste
- 1 teaspoon Anchovy Paste OR Fish Sauce
- 1-2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce - use more if you are not using anchovies or fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- Poach or hard boil the eggs.
- Blend the eggs, lemon juice, garlic, and parmesan until smooth. Add any optional ingredients you choose.
- With the blender running, slowly add oil.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.