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Oct 24, 2006 03:50 PM

A kinder, gentler Ceasar dressing recipe?

I'm in need of a milder recipe.

I've always used a recipe from the "The Best of" - from the Cook's Illustrated collection. It's good, but tends to be a little sharp and has to be applied sparingly so as to not be overwhelming.

A local restaurant has a perfect (to my taste) version that looks milkier and is mild enough that the romaine can be coated in it without risk.

Anyone have a recipe they really like?

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  1. You can check out my recipe here: I too think that most recipes use too much garlic. It's not cream of garlic dressing ;) With my recipe, you can use as small a clove as meets your tastes, and you remove the garlic and the pulp, so it's not overwhelming.

    1 Reply
    1. re: UnConundrum

      Thank you for posting your recipe and with all the photos of the steps! I never knew a Cesar dressing was supposed to be made in such a way. I can't wait to try it your way and was wondering where you buy the wooden mashing tool? I am sure it has a name but I'm clueless. I don't even have a wooden salad bowl but I know where I can get one of those. Any ideas where I can buy the wooden bowl and mashing tool set?

      Thanks so much!

    2. First of all, Caesar salad is based on an egg yolk/oil/vinegar emulsion. What else is an egg yolk/oil/vinegar emulsion? Mayo. I'm sure there's Caesar purists out there that will freak out by my suggestion to use mayo, but it makes an excellent creamy Caesar and cuts the time considerably.

      The reason why I bring up mayo, is that there's a good chance restaurants are incorporating this workaround- especially if the dressing is 'creamier.' Industrial emulsions are invariably stronger/creamier than home versions.

      Non creamy Caesar recipes tend to have a LOT of mustard, garlic and anchovy. It's nice and robust and some may call it more authentic, but it's not my bag. For creamy Caesar, I prefer

      wisp of garlic
      wisp of anchovy
      lots of Parmigiano Reggiano
      plenty of black pepper

      Edit: forgot to add liquid

      thinned with a tiny amount of water/lemon juice

      6 Replies
      1. re: scott123

        That's a dip, not a dressing.

        Sure caesar dressing is emulsified egg and olive oil, but it should be much thinner, with added lemon juice, a little tobasco and a tiny drop or two of Worcestershire sauce.
        Agree that too much garlic can be a bad thing, but I love the anchovy.
        And dry mustard powder! Just a touch...

        1. re: rabaja

          The original Caesar dressing isn't an emulsification. All the ingredients are tossed directly on the romaine, not emulsified before hand.

          1. re: ESNY

            Even though the original Caesar wasn't authentic, I think what most people perceive as being Caesar dressing today is emulsified.

            1. re: scott123

              Ok, I'll give you that.

              Luckily I grew up watching my dad make Caesar salad in a large wooden bowl and going through the whole production (until my mom made him stop using raw eggs). It tastes nothing like a bottled or emulsified Caesar dressing.

              I personally use the Alton Brown recipe except first I rub the inside of the wooden bowl with a couple of cloves of garlic.

            2. re: ESNY

              We always made the dressing in the wooden bowl before adding the romaine, it came together as what I saw as emulsified, not broken. Probably not the original recipe, but nothing like what gets passed off as Caesar dressing today.

            3. re: rabaja

              Oops, I forgot the liquid, thanks for catching that. I've revised my post to reflect this.

          2. While I prefer my own garlicky, lemony dressing, the caesar dressing at Costco (Johnny's, I believe) is pretty good. Mild. I use Thai fish sauce in mine, so it is pretty rank.

            1 Reply
            1. re: OldTimer

              Thai fish sauce you say? That's the first time in a while I've been intrigued by a caesar dressing recipe!

            2. Have you tried dry pan roasting an unpeeled clove of garlic for the dressing? On medium heat, turning it over from time to time, until it is browned. Like roasted garlic, without the oil and oven fuss. The intensity of the garlic will lessen, but it will have a sweeter flavour.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Anna B

                I love that method- I think I got the idea from Rick Bayless- and use it with any number of dishes (i.e. bean and lentil salads, babaghanoush, etc.), but for my Caesar salad I tend to go with the garlic infused oil method because I like the raw, yet controlled, flavor. Just let crushed garlic sit in your oil for an hour or so and strain it, using just the oil. I'll usually just use the garlic in something else at that point.

              2. Re: Caesar dressing and fish sauce.
                Nothing intriguing...lets you control the anchovy flavor. Use it in caponata, fried rice, chow mein and chow fun, also. Of course, do not use any salt in the dressing.

                1 Reply
                1. re: OldTimer

                  Fish sauce and anchovies taste very different, though.