| "to die for", this is probably the way they made it. |
If they compiled their Caesar salad dressing in a way other than that detailed below, this is better! Okay, okay, when it comes to Italian recipes, we tend to potentially overstate at times. But Caesar salad dressing made in a "wooden" salad bowl, with all natural ingredients that have not been "blender touched", are going to make a fresher, brighter dressing for your romaine or salad green combination, guaranteed.
How about some homemade Caesar croutons with it? Well, now you're talking! And, guess what? Your dinner guests will love the preparation and the presentation. The recipe here includes homemade croutons and the recipe for them. They are certainly superior to the packaged ones but you can of course use the store-bought ones to save time. The aroma of the homemade ones baking in butter and herbs is truly worth the effort, however, especially if you have guests. You do have a gourmet heart, you know, or you wouldn't be here at New Italian Recipes.
Are you like Chef Dave? Do your dinner guests, invariably, gather in the kitchen? Good! You're going to dazzle them with this one.
The origination of Caesar Salad is generally credited to a guy named Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who owned and operated a small group of restaurants in Tijuana and San Diego. According to friends, patrons and relatives, restaurateur Cardini's original recipe did not include anchovies but it did have a hint of anchovy essence from the Worcestershire Sauce which was an original key ingredient. Chef Dave of New Italian Recipes is definitely a proponent of adding the real thing, though, as is the case in most made from scratch Caesar dressings served in better restaurants today.
There are some optional ingredients you can use to enhance Caesar Salad:1/4 teaspoon dry mustard or 1 t Dijon (Dave usually leaves this out, but to some it adds to the dressing.)
5-6 sun-dried tomatoes (oil packed or not, doesn't matter), chopped finely. (Dave usually puts these in the dressing as it adds another tangy layer of flavor). For a creamier version, one can add some plain yogurt.
Let's talk a little about the dreaded Salmonella bacteria that can possibly be passed through raw eggs that are cracked or have been mishandled during packaging. We would strongly advise you not to take any chances here. That is why this recipe calls for "coddled" eggs. This term refers to eggs that are cooked for a short period of time in boiling water. This process does not "insure" safeness absolutely, but it can't hurt. So, what we're saying in a nutshell:to "reduce" the chances of contamination, the egg could be cooked in the shell, thus coddled, or poached just enough to leave the yolk runny.
Caesar Salad is terrific on its own, just as an accompaniment to a fine Italian meal. However, if you would like to make a one dish meal out of this, just add some roasted or sautéed chicken; a nice piece of seared, crusted salmon; some pan-fried or boiled shrimp; even slices of grilled pork or beef tenderloin. And this would make for a relatively low calorie meal, given the dressing ingredients. A very helpful and useful hint: Most Caesar dressing recipes call for a cup or more of Olive Oil, but you can use as much or as little as choose -- to keep the calories down a bit. Experiment with the amount of oil you use, and you may very well find you like Caesar Salad dressing better with a much smaller amount of oil. After all, the majority of the flavor comes from the other ingredients. If you add chopped up sun-dried tomatoes, along with the anchovies, Worcestershire, egg, garlic and lemon juice, you have a bonanza of zesty flavors that are really enough on their own. Nothing caloric there, either, especially if you do not use sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil. Even if you do, though, that gives you more reason to use less of any other kind of oil. So use your head when making this. It's pretty dang good no matter what little tweaks you do to it!
Here's how you make authentic (and exceptionally delicious) Caesar salad dressing, and the related gourmet "fixins".
New Italian Recipes Presents:
Authentic Caesar Salad Dressing with Homemade Croutons
Homemade Italian Croutons:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Slice up a day old loaf of French bread into 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes. (You can use regular bread if that is all you have). Of course, if you make your own bread, that is even better! Toss bread cubes in a mixture of 3 T. melted butter, 2-3 finely diced garlic cloves or 1 t of garlic powder, 2 T of dried basil and 2 T of dried thyme.
Spread evenly on baking sheets. Bake for about 20 minutes, until browned but not overly crusted.
Caesar Salad Dressing Ingredients:
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1/3 cup or so of good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Note: Amount may very due to individual tastes. Remember, folks, this is gourmet cooking. (Taste and adjust, taste and adjust. This process is impressive to your guests as well.)
8 anchovy fillets, chopped
Note: Chef Dave prefers those that come in a jar with the anchovy filets packed in oil. That way, if you don't use them all, you can just leave the remainder in the refrigerator until you need them. Probably very soon, in Dave's case.
2 T Worcestershire Sauce
Freshly ground pepper, to your own taste
Pinch of salt (probably don't need any if you use the anchovies)
Juice of 1/3 lemon
1 "coddled" Egg (1 minute in boiling water, then cooled, peeled and added in entirety) Or you can use a poached egg with a runny yolk.
The Rest: salad spinner makes washing the lettuce a whole lot easier.
1 head Romaine Lettuce, leaves torn into edible pieces (If you tear the leaves away from the stems, and then discard the stem pieces, you will need to add more salad leaves to this amount of dressing). (We occasionally use mixed green salad because it's good and the stems are tender and very edible!) A
Grated parmigiano-reggiano (parmesan) cheese to individual taste
Wash, tear and drain the lettuce.
In a large wooden salad bowl, mash the garlic with a fork or pestle.
Add chopped anchovy fillets, Worcestershire, mustard (optional), sun-dried tomato (optional), lemon juice, and coddled egg.
Note: A coddled egg is a raw egg that has been boiled for about 1 minute to reduce the risk of botulism or some other contamination. If your eggs are fresh, the chances are small of contamination but we perform this step just to be as safe as possible).
Blend with garlic, mash the anchovies really well, then swirl all of this around the sides of the bowl until it is "coated".
Mix in the olive oil, sparingly, with a fork until it is well incorporated. The dressing should appear "creamy". Taste it to see if you have added just the right amount of olive oil. (You'll know.)
Add the romaine, then the croutons and cheese. Toss it all well to combine with the "blissful" Caesar dressing.
You can make the dressing in a blender, of course, if you just don't want to go to this trouble, but that just does not fit the atmosphere, nor will it be as good. If you mix it in a blender, at least have a good one like the bar quality Waring we use.
But, always remember, you are a gourmet cook. Make the preparation a presentation and make frozen boat drinks in your bar quality Waring Blender.
Homemade authentic Caesar salad dressing, just like the 'Pros" make it at your favorite gourmet Italian restaurant, (hopefully). Bless you for striving to be a gourmet cook. It's a life that never gets boring!
Buon appetito always!
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Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing