**This post has been entered in Pennywise Platter Thursdays at The Nourishing Gourmet, Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as MOM and Whole Foods for the Holidays Salads at Naturally Knocked Up!**
When I was almost 10, we went to Disney World. But on the way, we stopped to visit my mom’s sister’s family. My Uncle Jim is a mailman, but in his younger days, he was a waiter at a very upscale restaurant. Many waiters at such establishments learn to make their own versions of Caesar salad, so they can prepare it right at the table to the delight of their customers. My Uncle Jim had learned to do this and still prepared it from time to time for his family. The night we visited, he prepared it for us. I loved it! I’ve never had a Caesar salad as good as his, but that doesn’t stop me from constantly trying to find it again. Today I’m bringing you the version I’ve recently made. I’m not 100% happy with it, but it’s pretty good! It’s also very healthy!
2 large cloves garlic
3 anchovy filets, mashed
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 c. olive oil
Now, here you can see all my ingredients, minus the thyme and sea salt. I forgot about those at first, but decided as I was mixing and tasting that I needed them.
First, use a microplane grater to crush your garlic. If you don’t have one (and you should!), you can mince it, but it’ll be better incorporated into the dressing if you can really crush it.
Then, go ahead and mash up your anchovy filets. I suppose you could use a bit of anchovy paste, too. But, see, I really LIKE anchovies. In fact, I sampled several while I was making the dressing. When I was in high school, my dad and I used to order anchovy and pineapple pizza — yes, really. So I have no need for anchovy paste, because then I couldn’t eat them. You can actually leave them out if you really don’t like them…but as I said, I really do. I also like the sheer complexity of flavors (the more flavors in most dishes, the better, for me).
Add the red wine vinegar. And, a quick note about that. Most people in the “real food” world extoll the benefits of apple cider vinegar and use it pretty much exclusively. I can’t stand the stuff. It smells and tastes like apple juice gone bad to me. Red wine vinegar, on the other hand, I love. And this Eden brand is unfiltered and contains sediment and “mother of vinegar” just like ACV does, so why not use it? You could use ACV if you love it, but I just don’t.
Then, you need to coddle your egg. You don’t HAVE to if you’re using a pastured egg (which I am), but I’ve read it makes your dressing a bit smoother. So, I coddle it. Bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove, then add the egg for exactly 45 seconds. My timer is only in minutes, so I set it for 1 minute, then wait until it ticks down to 45 seconds and quickly add the egg. When it beeps, it’s done.
Crack your egg into your dressing and whisk it in. I had started whisking a little before I remembered to take a picture.
Add your lemon juice now. Just squeeze in about half a lemon, you don’t need to measure it.
Then, add your spices. Salt, thyme, basil. You can add a little black pepper, too, if you want. I considered it but then…just didn’t. It’s good either way.
Now, slowly stream in your olive oil. SLOWLY. If you go too fast, the dressing won’t emulsify, meaning that your oil will separate from your other ingredients. It doesn’t matter if that happens, you’ll just have to shake a lot before you use it each time. Make sure you are whisking as you do this. Here’s what it looks like, finished:
I did find it much more likely to emulsify once I added the egg, so maybe it will work out easily for you, too!
Then, pour your dressing into a bottle. I can’t find the lid for my “dressing bottle,” so I’m using an old strained tomatoes bottle. Recycling or something, right?
Finally, serve it! I’ve torn up my Romaine lettuce, topped it with chicken cooked in coconut oil (SO GOOD!), sheep’s milk Romano cheese (Parmesan is traditional), and poured on the dressing. Here’s a picture of what that looks like, with the extra anchovies on top (since I love them):
You’ll notice I’m missing one traditional element: the croutons. I had good intentions, but ended up taking a nap instead of finishing them. Here’s as far as they got:
That’s my first attempt at sourdough, by the way. It was very dense because it only rose during baking and not that much. But since croutons were on my list it didn’t matter too much.
That’s it! That’s Caesar salad! And I’ve been eating it while writing this and now I have to say, it really is fantastic! Maybe I initially misjudged it…hmm. But it’s pretty yummy!
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