homemade caesar dressing
You know what I haven’t had in a long time? A caesar salad. I used to eat them at least 3-4 times a week. Mostly for lunch. (I was a Pharma rep in my old life and I had Corporate Catering on speed dial for last minute office lunches. Caesar salads were a staple.)
They used a bottled dressing on their salads, but we can do better, right? Caesar dressing should be thick, with a noticeable hit of garlic and a subtle salty bite. It should cling to the lettuce without wilting it or making it soupy.
The only thing that scares me about traditional caesar – is that raw egg thing. Several years ago, my brother and sister-in-law went to a wedding at a very upscale resort. The guests had a choice between a house salad and caesar. Real caesar. With raw egg. The guests who opted for the caesar became violently ill. ‘Nuff said.
In deference to that unfortunate event, I skip the raw egg in my dressing and substitute a good jarred mayonnaise – like Duke’s or Hellman’s. Lots of fresh lemon zest and juice add brightness.
And two briny anchovies add depth. I know, I know – anchovies. You need to get past that squeamishness. Think of anchovies as the salt component to the dressing. They are completely blended into it – and if you weren’t making this yourself — I promise, you’d never know they were there. If you have small kids, just don’t tell them.
After you make this once, I promise, there’s no going back to those bottled caesar dressings. Not even the ones in the dairy case. In fact, you might want to make a double batch. It’s that good!
- 5-6 large cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 rounded teaspoon dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 lemon, zested
- 2 anchovy fillets
- additional salt and pepper to taste
- special equipment: VitaMix or other powerful blender or mini prep food processor
- Add the garlic, vinegar and dijon to the blender and blend until the garlic is chopped.
- Add mayonnaise and blend for about 10 seconds. With the blender running, drizzle the olive oil through the opening in the top of the blender and blend until thick and creamy. (Note: food processors also have small "drip openings" in the top for oil to be added slowly to create emulsions.)
- Add the salt and lemon zest. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice of half the lemon (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) into the dressing. Add the anchovies and blend until anchovies have completely dissolved and dressing is thick and creamy.
- Taste for seasoning and add additional salt or cracked pepper if desired.