There is not a single correct way to make a Caesar Salad.
That’s probably why it’s so easy to fuck up and also why there is so much joy in thinking about it’s disputed origins.
Many claim this salad was invented in Mexico. Many claim Julius Caesar himself went to his local Whole Foods and picked up all these ingredients. I don’t know necessarily, so I’ll just do the best I can.
This is one of my versions of a modern Caesar that reins in the savory funk of anchovies, focuses on the acidity and elegance from Sherry vinegar and lemon juice, and then uses some easy finishing aspects to bring it all together.
Balance is beauty. A more lightly dressed attempt at a Caesar has been a years-long journey. This iteration is fun to make and will blow your friends away.
(PS: my mother-in-law Candace’s Caesar Salad is the major inspiration for the lightness and the lemon component of this dish. Her version of this salad she had made for me for years, and I was chasing those flavors.)
- 1 head romaine lettuce, quartered then chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2-3 anchovies preserved in olive oil
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard (slightly more depending on your taste)
- 1 tsp Sherry vinegar
- 1 TBSP lemon juice (from about half a lemon)
- 2-3 TBSP olive oil, the higher quality the better
- Small handful of grated parmesan and some toasted bread crumbs (refer to step 1 of the pizza instructions for how to make the toasted bread crumbs)
- 1 radish, sliced thinly and quickly pickled in red wine vinegar (optional but great for the punch and the visual presentation)
- Place a pinch of coarse sea salt, the garlic cloves, and the anchovies to your mortar and pestle, and lightly pound into a paste, which should take about 2 minutes. Scrape into a measuring cup.
- Add Dijon mustard, Sherry vinegar, and lemon juice and stir to combine. Let sit for 15 minutes. I’m actually not sure why this resting step works, but it’s a good time to pour yourself a glass of white wine and chill.
- Add olive oil, stirring vigorously or whisking to emulsify. Dijon mustard is a great emulsifying agent. I like the pungent flavor, but even a small amount of it will combine the oil and vinegar in this dressing, so adjust to your tastes based on the recipe above.
- Combine 2-3 TBSP of the dressing with the chopped romaine lettuce. Mix with tongs and taste. You can under-dress salad and correct it. You can’t over-dress salad and correct it, so use restraint. The proportions given above will easily provide you twice the amount of dressing you need, so save some for later too.
- Mix in a small handful of grated parmesan. Plate, top with the thinly sliced radishes and some toasted breadcrumbs.