Since its invention in the 1920's Caesar Salad has become one of America's favorite salads. It appears on almost every menu and in many different guises - with chicken, shrimp, or salmon, grilled, as full leaves, and the most common seen chopped salad.
The basic ingredients of Caesar salad are romaine lettuce, croutons, parmesan cheese, and a creamy parmesan dressing. Romaine lettuce is a crunchy, mild flavored green. Don't let it's mild flavor fool you - it is chockfull of vitamins and minerals - and even protein. A head of romaine has 17% of the RDA of protein, 44% of the RDA of omega 3's, and more vitamin C than an orange! It is also rich in the B vitamins, beta carotene, iron, and calcium!
Most of us won't be eating a full head of romaine in one sitting, but there is another easy way to add romaine to our diet: in smoothies! Mild flavored romaine is completely covered by the taste of fruit when blended in a smoothie. It's a good way to add extra nutrition and use up the last of the romaine!
The original dressing was made with a raw egg, lemon juice, mustard, and olive oil. Our version uses mayonnaise in place of the egg. Mayonnaise is an emulsion of egg, lemon, olive oil, and mustard, so it replaces the raw egg in our dressing nicely and alleviates the threat of a contaminated egg.
Anchovies were not a part of the original Caesar salad as the originator, Caesar Cardini, didn't like them! Later his brother and others began using anchovies. Caesar did used Worcestershire sauce (has anchovies in it) and so does our recipe.
Be sure and use a good quality parmesan cheese. It is a big part of the flavor profile and only the best will do the salad justice. Adjust the lemon juice and water to reach the desired consistency.
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup water or as needed
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, more or less to taste
- 2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ tsp dry mustard
- 2 tsps finely minced garlic (2 - 3 cloves)
- 1 tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- Mix everything together except the water.
- Beat in the water, a tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.
- Add more water if a thinner dressing is preferred.
- 1 ½ cups crusty bread in 1" cubes
- 1 - 2 TBS olive oil
- Toss the bread cubes with olive oil.
- Sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 to 20 minutes -until golden brown.
- Stir halfway through the cooking time.
- 1 large bunch of romaine
- Coarsely grated or shaved parmesan cheese
- Remove the toughest part of the bottom of the romaine.
- Chop the rest into 1" pieces - there will be about 6 cups.
- Place in a bowl with the croutons.
- Toss with dressing, using just as much as needed to coat.
- Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese.
for more information and expanded ideas.