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Best Caesar Salad dressing (no anchovies)

A very forgiving recipe, with lots of tang and garlic to mask the absence of anchovies - everyone absolutely loves it. Adjust to suit your taste. The below makes enough to dress generously a bowl of salad for 6-8 moderate eaters.

Combine and process in food processor until thoroughly blended:

- 3 garlic cloves
- 3/4 - 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1+ tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp English mustard (dry powder)
- 2 1/2 - 3 tbs red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste

Then add to the mixture in a thin stream while continuing to process:

1/4 cup light olive oil

Process until mixture is emulsified.

I fry some bacon up and chop it finely, also some french bread croutons, then toss the whole salad with the dressing.

Most people find this a meal.

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  1. What's wrong with anchovies? Just kidding, but did you know that one of the main ingredients of worcestershire sauce is anchovies!

    1 Reply
    1. re: TomDel

      Yes, TomDel - but their presence in worcestershire sauce is well hidden for those of us whose delicate aesthetic abhors the sight and/or handling of those fuzzy little critters !

    2. Anchovies make the world go round.

      The dressing looks good but, IMO, it's not caesar.

      3 Replies
      1. re: C. Hamster

        "Anchovies make the world go round."

        Amen, brother. (Sister?)

        But it's probably worth noting that the propriety of anchovies in a traditional Caesar is far from settled. Cardini's own family is anti-anchovy, but the "Aviator's Salad" that some believe to be the precursor and true first Caesar salad supposedly did include them. In any case, the history is fuzzy enough that it's tough to call anchovies either traditional or non-traditional.

        As for this recipe, no, it isn't strictly traditional, but it's a helluva lot closer than a lot of other dressings that (erroneously) bear the name.

          1. re: Dmnkly

            Yeah, most people seem to agree that ramping up the subtle anchovy contribution in Worcester sauce is a later amendment. I'm also pretty sure bacon bits are also not part of the original. It seemed to me - I could be wrong - that the blossoming of Caesar salad as an American mainstay was roughly at the same time that spinach salad also had its coming out, early 70s. My hunch is that there was some cross-over at that time. I use anchovy paste both because its easier and avoids the fuzziness noted by the OP.

            I'm gonna give your recipe a whirl today, Bigtigger. I have been having some consistency/texture issues with mine lately for reasons I cannot figure out. One time its nice and thick, the next runny as water.

        1. A bit unorthodox but here goes:

          In a bowl whip 1/2 cup walnut oil, 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, 1 mashed glove of garlic, 1 egg yolk, the juice from one lemon and a tsp of dried thyme. If you like anchovies, add em last.

          10 Replies
          1. re: HillJ

            I also make a great Beef Wellington by pan-searing a ribeye, topping it with mushrooms, onions and soy sauce and eating it with a slice of bread.


            That's stretching the definition juuuuuuuust a tad, don'tcha think, HillJ? :-)

            1. re: Dmnkly

              Dmnkly, yes I suppose it issssssssss, but it is my best; unorthodox as it may be. Thanks for the giggle tho.

              1. re: HillJ

                We're having Caesar salad tonight which is why I'm posting here. I agree about "fuzzy" anchovies out of a can, so if you can find white anchovies in your gourmet section (NON fuzzy and in olive oil) grab them. They're much fresher-tasting.

                Here is the Martha Stewart dressing that I promise will not gross out your guests with that anchovy taste. BTW, I always rinse and dry my anchovies though my husband does not. And you should know that she adds mayo instead of raw egg.

                dressing for 4:

                2 cloves garlic
                4 WHITE anchovy filets, washed and dried
                1 teasp salt (I use much less)
                1 teasp freshly ground pepper (I use much less)
                1 Tablesp freshly squeezed lemon juice
                1 teasp Worcestershire sauce
                1/2 teasp Dijon mustard
                1 Tablesp mayonnaise
                1/3 cup good olive oil

                In a blender put the garlic, anchovy fillets and salt and pepper. Whiz for a moment. Now add lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard and mayo. Whiz some more. SLOWLY add the olive oil as the blender whizzes. Store in a screw-top jar in the refrigerator till ready to serve. Before serving, shake in the jar like a martini.

                1. re: SSqwerty

                  Respectfully, SSqwerty, substituting white anchovies for regular anchovies is like substituting chicken for duck. I'd urge you to find some good salted anchovies (usually Italian) before writing off the "fuzzy anchovies out of a can". Most of the bottled and canned ones in oil are godawful (though there are exceptions), and in my experience, good anchovies are one of those ingredients that people hate when they know they're eating them, and love when they don't.

                  1. re: Dmnkly

                    I agree - I don't think that white anchovies - much as I love them - are the right kind for this recipe.

                    Though - doesn't the true, original recipe NOT have anchovies?

                    Not that I view wikipedia as the be all and end all, but it does reflect my understanding:


                    Edit - Dmnkly - "oops" - just saw your post above about the anchovy thing.

                      1. re: Dmnkly

                        Did anyone mention anchovy paste? I think its easier to handle in making a Caesar.

                        1. re: Kari

                          I love anchovies, and think the Ina Garten recipe for the dressing is great. I make this all the time, and never tell people about the raw egg or anchovies and they love it. http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

                          1. re: Kari

                            I keep a tube in my fridge and use it all of the time, just have to watch it because it is quite salty

                      2. re: Dmnkly


                        Once again, I agree entirely. I love white anchovies and have had them garnish a caesar salad before but they are just not "right," IMO.

                        Cheap anchovies can be gross but good quality ones can be sublime. Salted ones are good but high quality jarred ones can be delicious. And you're right, the best ones I've had are imported from italy.

              2. I'm not a big anchovie fan either but I do like what they bring to a recipe as an ingredient. I've learned to think of them as a "spice that grows in the sea"

                1. Just wondering... could you use fish sauce as a sub for anchovies? Sorta similar flavor profile, if the objection to anchovies is handling them. Never tried it - just an idea.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Bat Guano

                    The fermentation process alters the flavor substantially.

                    1. re: Bat Guano

                      Never tried, but I'm skeptical. I'd probably do that before white anchovies, though.

                      Interestingly, there's actually an Italian analogue to fish sauce called colatura. It isn't quite as pungent and funky, but it's the same theory at work and it's very similar.

                    2. I think anchovies give a dressing that extra little depth that you can't emulate with anyting else, and although most people I know don't like them, none have yet to complain about my dressings that include them.

                      1. You do realize that Worcestershire sauce has fish in it.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: 789

                          A miniscule amount. Not enough to add anchovy taste.

                          It has tamarind in it too, for that matter. But it doesn't make anything taste like tamarind.

                          1. re: C. Hamster

                            But possibly still enough to matter to people who are really allergic to anchovies (like myself). Just putting that out there.

                        2. I also use anchovies but the original did not have them. Nor does Julia Child's Caesar, which I make often and is an excellent version. The taste of them even in the original does come from the worcestershire (lovingly referred to in my family as 'wooster', we go through bottles).

                          1 Reply
                          1. Pioneer Woman has a great recipe on her website. It's the Pam Anderson recipe. Delish!

                            1. I just made this today, having found the recipe after googling 'Caesar dressing without anchovies' in a panic as I found out last-minute that one of my dinner guests absolutely loathed anchovies!! I'm not particularly bothered over whether or not it's "authentic" without the anchovies... I'm British, so I'm probably a bit less discerning than most because I've missed out on the cultural/culinary history that comes with this dish :-) All I can say is that I served it to a group of eight and the universal opinion was that it was delicious. The only thing I adapted was to use white wine vinegar instead of red wine vinegar, as it was all I had in the cupboard. Anyway, just wanted to say thank you Tigger for a super recipe.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: MagnoliaTree

                                magnoliatree - or Bigtigger - wondering if you would make the dressing earlier or does it not store well?

                                Also - any suggestions on how to make great croutons? I have tried them a couple of times, the first one was fantastic but never duplicated and can't remember what I did right!

                                1. re: smilingal

                                  Hi smilingal - I'm only a very occassional poster here, so there will be many more people on here more qualified than me to reply :-) but for what it's worth, I have made this delicious dressing in advance and stored it successfully in the fridge for 2/3 days before using. It doesn't lose its thick consistency and still tastes great, just make sure to give it a good shake before you use it. It may well keep for longer, but I've been put off by many posts on Chowhound about the slight possibility of botulism bacteria developing as a result of keeping raw garlic in oil/dressings for extended periods of time. I'm probably overreacting, but I always think better safe than sorry! Re. croutons, If you post a separate question asking for crouton recipes, you'll probably get a better response, also see existing threads, eg, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/831113

                                  I find bread that's a day or two old makes better ones and have had good results with both whole loaves and leftover rolls. I chop into cubes or tear into small pieces depending on bread shape/size/texture, then place them in a large baking tin, drizzle with olive oil, season with a little salt and black pepper and toss them thoroughly using my fingers so that all the pieces are evenly coated in the oil/seasoning. Then bake in a hot oven (300 - 350F) for 15 - 20 mins (depending on oven type and how crisp you prefer them) turning them with a spatula a couple of times as they cook,until crisp and golden. Just keep checking them, as they can burn pretty quickly. Some people prefer to pan fry croutons, but personally I prefer baked as you can get away with less oil! :-)

                                  1. re: MagnoliaTree

                                    Thanks MagnoliaTree for the prompt and thorough reply! Don't hesitate to post, it is always appreciated and we all enjoy reading other's experiences and helping!

                                    Party is Sunday, and I think I will make this today.

                              2. The anchovies should be minced. A true Ceasar is made at the table in the salad bowl, by hand, the salad added last. If you add too many anchovies and make the dressing fishy, you have missed the point. I use a pasteurized egg.

                                Green Goddess should have anchovies also.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: law_doc89

                                  I don't agree that a salad made in the kitchen cannot be a "true" Caesar. The tableside ritual is just a matter of presentation. It shows the customer that the dressing is made-to-order in the classic manner.

                                2. Excellent dressing. The original ceasre dressing had no anchovies

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: zet516

                                    True, but anchovies have become an accepted enhancement to the original, so a Caesar can be said to be "classic" either with or without them, in my opinion. The OP's dressing is not what I would call a Caesar at all.

                                    1. re: zet516

                                      It had anchovies in the form of the Worcestershire sauce, and if had pieces of anchovy was called "Aviator salad." Should have raw egg rather than mayo, and always made at the table ;~)