Caesar Salad is a snap if you purchase croutons, bottled Caesar dressing, and grated Parmesan cheese for the salad.
But if you can
manage to make this classic, homemade Caesar Salad recipe from scratch,
do it. Lemon, garlic, olive oil, capers and anchovies come together with freshly made croutons and Parmigiano-Reggiano on romaine lettuce. It's fantastic. Store-bought just cannot compare.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 2-ounce can anchovy filets, minced, or 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons capers
1-1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
2/3 cup quality extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt to taste (taste first)
2 large heads of romaine lettuce
1 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
First, coddle the eggs: Place the eggs in a small pot of boiling water for 45 seconds, no more, no less. Remove them and set them aside to cool.
Prepare the croutons next.
Heat the oil in a large skillet or sauté pan and stir in the garlic and salt. Add the bread and cook over medium-low heat, tossing often, until the bread is browned, about 10 minutes. Add more oil when/if you need it. Drain the croutons on paper toweling. Cool completely and store in an airtight container if not using them right away.
In a small mixing bowl, stir together the garlic, anchovies or anchovy paste, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, mustard, capers, and pepper. (Better yet, give them a whirl in the processor.) Now add the coddled eggs and whisk until smooth. Very slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking constantly.* If you add the olive oil too quickly, it will not emulsify. Done right, the mixture resembles thin mayonnaise. Taste and salt if necessary; personally, I never need to add salt.
To assemble the salad, tear the lettuce into 1-1/2 inch pieces in a salad bowl, removing any outer, shabby looking romaine leaves. Add the Parmesan cheese and dressing to the bowl and toss thoroughly. Serve and top with croutons.
Your new, soon-to-be-loved homemade Caesar Salad recipe serves 12 easily. Or, add a few cups of grilled chicken strips and it will serve 6 as the main dish.