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Dec 27, 2010 04:08 PM

Safe homemade caesar dressing?

I'd like to make some caesar dressing for a potluck tomorrow - is there any way to incorporate the egg and still have the dressing be safe? Does anyone have any good recipes? I prefer conservative use of garlic, but don't mind liberal anchovy or worcestershire.

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  1. There is a recipe for the dressing I read it yesterday, it's on the 3rd page, called the best caesar dressing [no anchovy]

    1. I usually dunk the egg in boiling water for 20-30 seconds to sterilize and then put it into a small bowl of ice water. It's my understanding that the salmonella lives on the outside of the shell, not in the egg itself - folks feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. Anyway, been making it that way for 30+ years and no one's ever been sick. My favorite recipe is from the old Joy of Cooking, if you have access to that. The recipe calls for letting the oil for the dressing and making the croutons sit at room temperature with a couple cloves of garlic for a few hours, then picking them out. Gives a nice garlic under taste without overwhelming the salad.

      4 Replies
      1. re: pasuga

        >>> It's my understanding that the salmonella lives on the outside of the shell, not in the egg itself - folks feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.<<<

        That is my understanding as well. I'm going to try your method.

        1. re: SilverlakeGirl

          actually I have always heard the salmonella exists inside between the membrane and the shell, but also that this is the preferred method and I've never been or made anyone sick using it.

          1. re: hill food

            Salmonella *can* be present inside the egg itself, if it were laid by a diseased chicken. It's rare, but the only way to kill it then is to cook the egg.

        2. re: pasuga

          Usually people will coddle the egg (simmer it in medium heat) for about 1-2 minutes. That should do the trick. Also the lemon juice (and tabasco if you add that) will kill the rest.

        3. I make a caesar salad pretty frequently, in fact just this weekend, and while I use a raw yolk, I make sure the egg is very fresh and from a reliable source. Plus I add a splash of red wine vinegar; that plus dijon mustard creates a pretty acidic environment. However to be sure, you can coddle the egg by pouring boiling water over it in a mug, letting it sit for one minute, then using the yolk.

          As for the recipe, I use the back of a large spoon or whisk in a large wooden bowl: a little kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper (twice as much pepper as salt), good squeeze of lemon juice, smashed garlic clove (1/2 a clove if you wish), anchovy fillet or squeeze of anchovy paste, dijon mustard, splash of red wine vinegar, then incorporate olive oil until it's where you want it. Add more of whatever if needed; you'll know when you taste it and it's right.

          1. You can find safe (pasteurized) egg product in most stores. I tried it once without much success, but that was like my first batch ever of Caesar and my own cluelessness might have caused the fail.

            I've also heard that you can cook eggs very slowly in the microwave without them really setting (lower power, and in like 30 second intervals), but I think you'd have to own a pretty accurate thermometer to be 100 percent certain you reach the right temperature throughout the egg. Maybe someone else can chime in if they know the technique better than I. Myself, I just save Caesar (and other raw egg products) for me and my honey or intimate dinners where I know the guests well and can check in advance that everyone is cool with the risk...

            If you want very mild garlic flavor, the classic trick is just rubbing the sides of the bowl with a cut clove. I'm not sure I can even taste it though. You can split the difference by gently warming a smashed clove in the olive oil and letting it steep for 30 minutes or so.

            Edit: Here's an old safe Caesar from the NYT. Never tried so can't vouch for it, and didn't bother digging up the accompanying article:

            1. I recommend a small amount of good mayonnaise to replace the egg. No matter what you do with a fresh egg, someone will worry about salmonella and you'll never hear the end of it.

              22 Replies
              1. re: escondido123

                I agree. Five or six anchovy fillets, good mayonnaise, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, parmesan cheese. And don't forget the garlic croutons!

                1. re: Euonymous

                  Original Caesar had no anchovy - came as a shock to me.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    Maybe not, but that's the way I've always had it. And I love anchovies! They get squished up in the dressing, so most people don't even know they're there.

                    1. re: Euonymous

                      Plus that's the only way you can get them into the salad without people saying "Oh I won't eat those little fishy things"!! They have no clue they are even in there!

                      1. re: Mother of four

                        It's risky! I will have a clue...I can taste them a mile away, and I can't stand fishy taste! Even heavy garlic can't cover up fish.

                        1. re: sedimental

                          Even if they were melted could you tell? They melt so easily and practically disappear. I personally don't think they smell fishy at all. If they are used properly the preparation should taste balanced; not taste of anchovy per se.

                          1. re: chefathome

                            I can tell!!!
                            I have tried (repeatedly) to use them as soooo many people rave about them. Nope. No go. Funny thing is...I am okay with fermented fish sauce (in moderation) in a dish or broth. There is something about anchovy that I pick up on immediately and it kind of tastes metallic and like "decomp" to me.

                    2. re: c oliver

                      But it did have Worcestershire sauce, the primary ingredient of which is (drumroll, please) ... anchovies.

                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        I like Worcestershire sauce. It tastes *nothing* at all like anchovies to me. Not in the least.

                        1. re: sedimental

                          Of course it doesn't; it tastes like Worcestershire sauce. Sweet, tangy, deep, and salty, with plenty of umami but no "fishy" notes. The depth of flavor and the umami come from anchovies.

                          A good Caesar salad works the same way. The anchovies are an essential ingredient, whether you add them on their own or by adding Worcestershire sauce. They bring a lot of flavor to the dressing, and if used properly do so without making it fishy.

                          1. re: alanbarnes

                            I agree that a good Caesar has Worcestershire sauce! I can't stand anchovies in it however (with or without the Worcestershire sauce). Even just one little strip- melted. I will taste it. It tastes like death to me- decomp. If others taste it like I do (when they say they don't like anchovies) I would never try to "sneak it in". It will ruin the meal for them.

                            1. re: sedimental

                              But when you add Worcestershire sauce to your dressing, you **are** making it with anchovies. Seriously, read the ingredient list.

                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                Oh, I know that. I don't *taste* rot in Worcestershire sauce- with the other strong flavors. I think the Tamerind in it -covers it. It is effectively masked!
                                If anchovies are added separately, I will taste them. I am willing to bet most "anchovies haters" are the same- not minding Worcestershire sauce but being revolted by the "skillfully melted" ..."balanced" anchovy in the dressing. Disgusting. When anchovies are added to Tapenade, I can pick it out right away and get the gag reflex going.

                            2. re: alanbarnes

                              My death-by-garlic Caesar includes a fair squirt of anchovy paste in the dressing, carefully sized anchovy pieces in the salad, and I serve it with a plate of anchovies for those who want to triple-up and attenuate the garlic.

                              1. re: Veggo

                                Now that might be a bit much for sedimental. Me, on the other hand? Bring it on!

                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                    My salad has both men and women breathing like greyhounds that just ran a 7/16 mile race.

                        2. re: Euonymous

                          Homemade garlic croutons from sourdough! :-D

                        3. re: escondido123

                          I make this Caesar salad using mayo (with lemon juice, parmesan, garlic, worcestershire, and Dijon) all the time for those leery of raw eggs. It's really good, a breeze to make in the food processor ahead of time, and always a crowd pleaser. I just made it again for Christmas Dinner and even the 8-year old had seconds of salad, saying "this is delicious!" : ) Just don't use all 7 cloves (4 are for the croutons) like I did the first time I made it.

                          An Even Greater Caesar Salad

                          1. re: Rubee

                            Exactly the recipe I use also. Everyone who has it, loves it.

                            1. re: Rubee

                              Me too ... And I've made that same garlic mistake!