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From Scratch Caesar Salad

I have always been scared of making Caesar Dressing at home. I think it was the coddled/raw egg thing. Sucked it up and tried to make some tonight. I used Tyler Florences' recipe from www.foodtv.com. My only complaint is that there were maybe some of the stronger more savory tones that i associate with a really good caesar missing. I thought it was a lack of anchovies. I am not a big fan of them in other situations (a few sauces being the exception) but i doubled the number he called for (went from four to eight). Anyway, still not exactly what i wanted and no where as good as the best i have had (el enchanto in santa barbara). I used a good meaux Dijon, very fresh lemons, high quality cheese and a nice extra virgin olive oil that i opened just a few days ago as well as fresh egg... you get the picture. I am wondering if i need to try another brand of anchovy or maybe do what several other recipes suggested and add a little Worcestershire Sauce, though that seem like blasphemy. I know that anchovies are a big part of Worcestershire but the other flavors (tamarind) i dont associate with a purist Caesar.

Thoughts?

By the way i used Bellino Flat anchovies.

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  1. I agree that the best Caesar salad dressing is made without all the extras: just good olive oil, garlic, anchovy, coddle egg, lemon juice, home-made croutons, fresh coarse ground black pepper, a little salt and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. I think the recipe in The Zuni Cafe Cookbook is one of the best recipe, though it has both lemon juice and red wine vinegar. I prefer it with just lemon juice. The quality of the anchovy is very important. The little can from the supermarket just doesn't do it. Salt packed from Spain or Portugal is the best, though, a good imported oil packed fillets is also good. It should be made and used immediately.

    2 Replies
    1. re: PBSF

      what brand of anchovy would you advise?

      1. re: frankiii

        Actually the best is Recca brand from Sicily. It comes in whole anchovies packed in salt and has to be cleaned and rinsed. It is easy to do but can be a turned off if one is not into handling fishy things. The smallest tin is about 1 lb but will keep for months at least. Clean only what one needs. They also make smaller oil packed jars. Ortiz is an excellent Spanish brand. I don't know where you live, but a good Italian deli will carry Recca.

    2. Is it so heretical to love the worcestershire in a Caesar dressing? I depend on both the anchovies and the worcestershire, along with all the other ingredients you use as well, for the savory flavors I love in that dressing.

      3 Replies
      1. re: vanillagrrl

        I'm with you, vanillagrrl. I love the additional layer of flavour from the worcestershire sauce. I also often use a mix of Parmesan Reggiano and Romano cheeses.

        1. re: Yongeman

          Yes! Yes! Worcestershire sauce is a must. I hate it in almost everything else, but that dash in caeser salad...perfectamundo.

          Might it also be that the lemons you used were less sour/piquant than usual?

          1. re: oakjoan

            I don't like the tamarind flavour in Worcester, so I use fish sauce (patis) in my Caesar salads and it brings through the anchovy flavour without the weird tamarind aftertaste.

      2. I used to make it daily at a restaurant I worked for. Good extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, good anchovies, raw pastuerized eggs, dijon mustard, parm/reg.cheese, and house-made croutons. The recipe was for a gallon container though. Oh, pepper too and a little salt.

        The anchovies we used were packed in oil..they were large and flat..and expensive.

        1. Some items you didn't mention were garlic and black pepper. I would crush the garlic in a mortar and pestle. Lots of black pepper too. I agree that salt-packed anchovies are the way to go, but I don't have an exact brand to recommend.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Carb Lover

            you are right. i should have written the whole recipe out. I did use garlic (maybe not enough) and fresh pepper. Maybe the weak link was the oil packed anchovies. Whole Foods only had two kinds both of which were oil packed. Whole Foods may not be the best place to buy them.

            thanks to everyone for adding their bit

          2. I am not pushing Martha, but her recipe called "Alexis favorite Ceasar Salad" is excellent.

            1. I love Caesar salad, I make mine based on the Silver Palate's version which has raw egg, garlic, lemon, olive oil and anchovies. I use way more anchovies than the original recipe because I love these and if you can't taste them in the salad why bother?

              1 Reply
              1. re: cheryl_h

                Oh God...I forgot to put lemon. Yes..use lemon! Real lemon juice.

              2. Todd English's Figs recipe book has a great ceasar salad dressing recipe that contains no eggs but includes the anchovies, parmesan, lemon juice, oil, mustards and garlic mixed together in a food processor. The trick if to have everything cold. Used to dress romaine with nice croutons and extra anchovies if needed it is really great. If you can't find it I will post.

                1. i like to have a little Worcestershire Sauce, dash of red wine vinegar, and lots of garlic. I truly think garlic belongs in the dressing. I would also agree to making homemade crutons. That seems to be the test with hubby and I when comparing caesar salads.

                    1. I use Maggi seasoning instead of Worshie sauce, and I only use the egg yolk. I don't ever put vinegar in mine, only lemon juice.

                      Mexico The Beautiful Cookbook has the original Cardini/Tijuana recipe in it, and they use Maggi as well. Also, frying your bread (I make my own croutons) is a must.