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Caesar salad -- how do YOU prepare it?

CindyJ Feb 23, 2013 05:39 PM

After many years of making Caesar salad at home, my husband and I have come up with our own list of ingredients, quantities and techniques which are guided more by our personal preferences than convention. We both love garlic and we both love anchovies, so we add lots of both. But one ingredient we omit is egg, not because we don't think it would enhance the salad, but because we've just never added it. That part we're rethinking.

Basically, here's what we do:

5 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tin of flat anchovies, drained
1/2 cup EVOO
juice of 1 whole lemon
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp tabasco sauce
3 heads of romaine hearts, omitting the very green leaves and the very yellow ones, cut or torn into 1" pieces
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan reggiano
1 cup croutons

Mash the garlic, salt and anchovies together in the bottom of a huge wooden salad bowl. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, tabasco and worcestershire sauce and whisk until well combined. Add the romaine and toss with dressing. Add Parmesan and toss. Add croutons and serve.

So... how do YOU make Caesar salad at home?

  1. h
    HillJ Feb 23, 2013 05:48 PM

    Just like you but without croutons and we use grated Asiago cheese. I serve garlic toast alongside instead of adding bread to the bowl.

    1. g
      GH1618 Feb 23, 2013 05:58 PM

      It may be an excellent salad, but it's not a Caesar without egg. The essence of a Caesar salad is the egg dressing.

      14 Replies
      1. re: GH1618
        h
        HillJ Feb 23, 2013 06:03 PM

        Point taken. I love eggs. I love Caesar salad. I dislike eggs in any dressing. I don't care for what the egg does to the cheese. We still call it a Caesar salad. We go eggless,like this and many other examples that cater to the preference.

        http://www.marthastewart.com/316082/e...

        1. re: GH1618
          p
          Philly Ray Feb 23, 2013 07:50 PM

          I was watching Lidia Bastianich prepare a Caesar salad on her show, and she used cooked egg yolks in her dressing. I'm wondering if some lawyer nixed raw yolks because I've never seen it prepared that way before.

          1. re: Philly Ray
            g
            GH1618 Feb 23, 2013 08:17 PM

            Actually, the proper method is to use a "coddled" egg. The yolk is raw, the white just very slightly cooked.

            1. re: GH1618
              p
              Philly Ray Feb 24, 2013 04:57 AM

              Well, this looked like a hard cooked yolk.

              1. re: Philly Ray
                g
                GH1618 Feb 24, 2013 07:14 AM

                Weird.

          2. re: GH1618
            e
            escondido123 Feb 23, 2013 10:27 PM

            Instead of the egg, which would create a kind of mayonnaise, I just add a dollop of mayonnaise to the dressing.

            1. re: GH1618
              CindyJ Feb 24, 2013 09:08 AM

              Can you tell me exactly what you do to the egg? How do you coddle an egg? Do you use the whole egg, or just the yolk? How and when do you add it to the salad?

              1. re: CindyJ
                g
                GH1618 Feb 24, 2013 09:23 AM

                The whole egg. Beard writes: "1 egg, cooked in boiling water 1 minute"

                1. re: CindyJ
                  s
                  sparky403 Feb 24, 2013 09:50 AM

                  When I coddled (at least partially) my egg - I simply put a cup of water in the Nuker' for 2 or so minutes - take it out and drop the egg in.

                  I add it at the end so it turns out with a partially coddled egg (the white just starting to cloud).

                  I used to just use raw, but figured that my guests might have a problem with raw egg. I don't see a difference taste wise.

                2. re: GH1618
                  s
                  sparky403 Feb 24, 2013 04:54 PM

                  True - But, originally the Ceasar sald didn't have anchovie either. Nor Dejon Mustard. It would be sacrelege to serve the original 'Ceasar' these days...

                  >>The original Caesar salad recipe (unlike his brother Alex's Aviator's salad)[4] did not contain pieces of anchovy; the slight anchovy flavor comes from the Worcestershire sauce. Cardini was opposed to using anchovies in his salad.[8]

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesar_s...

                  1. re: sparky403
                    g
                    GH1618 Feb 24, 2013 05:04 PM

                    I'm aware of that. There is a huge difference between adding a flavoring ingredient and leaving out the fundamental ingredient which gives its character. Anchovy in the dressing has become a standard addition to the original recipe.

                    Variations of a classic are fine, within limits. At some point you have a new thing, which should not be called by the same name.

                    A similar example is the Waldorf salad: celery, crisp apple, and fresh mayonaisse. You can add things, and people have, but if you leave out the celery or the apple, it's not a Waldorf.

                    1. re: GH1618
                      s
                      sparky403 Feb 24, 2013 06:02 PM

                      true to an extent - I stay very true to the original ceasar. It was the first thing I've ever truly mastered - it takes practice to get the proportions right.

                      A couple of times I have made without egg as I didn't have them and was too lazy to go get them.

                      The purpose of the egg is to emulisify, which the oil and mustard do pretty well on their own. I don't think the egg add's or takes away from the taste only the consistency of the dressing (which is a pretty big minus - I agree). It still passes IMHO.

                      Anyway, not to be too antonistic here - so I'll stop now.

                  2. re: GH1618
                    Ruthie789 Feb 24, 2013 06:08 PM

                    Before Caesar salad became an everywhere occurence it was prepared from A to Z in front of you and yes a yolk was always added to the bowl. I do not use a yolk but replace with a tablespoon of mayonaise.

                    1. re: Ruthie789
                      GretchenS Feb 25, 2013 07:37 AM

                      I do the same.

                  3. r
                    robt5265 Feb 23, 2013 10:37 PM

                    how many people does this serve?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: robt5265
                      CindyJ Feb 24, 2013 09:10 AM

                      It makes four generous servings. Although, truth be told, with a great crusty loaf of bread, it can be a whole meal for two. That's two BIG servings of salad for each of us.

                      1. re: CindyJ
                        ChefJune Feb 26, 2013 10:41 AM

                        I agree... and we often eat it that way. Another really tasty unconventional add is crumbled bacon. ;)

                    2. t
                      treb Feb 24, 2013 07:24 AM

                      Based on the quanity romaine, I'm OK except for the tobasco, lack of coddled egg yolks and a tad less garlic. As you stated, most is personal taste, try the yolks makes for a smooth consistency.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: treb
                        c
                        chloebell Feb 24, 2013 07:59 AM

                        We always use eggs that have been cooked 90 seconds then dipped into cold water bath. We also use anchovy paste instead of anchovy's, and we make our own croutons.

                        I love a good Caesar salad!

                        1. re: treb
                          CindyJ Feb 24, 2013 09:13 AM

                          Funny about the tabasco -- it adds something, but not really the kick of heat that you might expect. And I'm ready to experiment with egg/egg yolk; I just need some direction.

                        2. tim irvine Feb 24, 2013 08:05 AM

                          I cheat on Caesar. It is ironic because I make most other things from scratch. Cardini's cut with a little lemon, croutons made with old baguettes tossed in EVOO, S & P, and herbs d' Provence, and a little freshly grated Romano. Oh, starting with heads of Romaine...at least I am eschewing bagged lettuce.

                          1. s
                            selfportrait93 Feb 24, 2013 08:13 AM

                            Besides all of the above, one egg yolk is essential for me. Then I add crispy bacon over the finished salad.

                            1. CindyJ Feb 24, 2013 09:16 AM

                              There's one other ingredient I just remembered -- freshly ground pepper.

                              1. s
                                sparky403 Feb 24, 2013 09:45 AM

                                Fun Fact - Cesar Salad was originally "invented" in Tijuana MX.

                                That's extremely close to the way I make it.

                                I start with the garlic, anchovie, Mustard, and black pepper - mash with a 2 forks to make a paste. Add Lemon and "whooshy" sauce, mix - add the coddle egg and half the parm. Mix, adjust flavors (more lemon etc). add half the croutons, mix, add the Romaine, rest of the crouton's mix. Server with shaved parm and garnish with a few anchovies.

                                Proportionally, I usually figure between a half and one clove of garlic per person.

                                I do add the egg - but I am thinking going forward - I am just going to use the yolk and not the whole thing.

                                I don't add tabasco - and I always have made it in a bowl just like you - it's a show and the only way I've ever done it (its the way I learned. Getting a Cesar Right is not easy.

                                I also add about half of the crouton's to the dressing prior to adding the lettuce - this lets them soak up the dressing and carry the flavors forward.

                                1. CindyJ Feb 24, 2013 02:26 PM

                                  Okay... so for those of you who coddle their egg and use only the yolk -- I assume you coddle, crack and then separate the yolk. Is that right? I can't imagine doing it any other way, but ya never know.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: CindyJ
                                    t
                                    treb Feb 24, 2013 05:27 PM

                                    Yes, coddle, then separate the yolk.

                                    1. re: CindyJ
                                      g
                                      GH1618 Feb 24, 2013 05:42 PM

                                      I don't see the point. The purpose of coddling is to change the characteristic of the white.

                                      1. re: GH1618
                                        s
                                        sparky403 Feb 24, 2013 08:51 PM

                                        the purpose of a coddled egg (in california at least) is health regs - In california if they use egg - it has to pasturiezed.

                                        The coddling process lets resturants check that box. I don't find there's any difference in taste - but a coddled egg also helps with the color which is not that appealing (frankly) due wooster sauce and anchovies.

                                        1. re: GH1618
                                          t
                                          treb Feb 25, 2013 08:44 AM

                                          And warm the yolk.

                                      2. tcamp Feb 24, 2013 05:47 PM

                                        My dressing is very similar but I do use an egg and usually lime juice instead of lemon. And never tabasco although that sounds intriguing.

                                        I usually use a raw egg but if I have someone visiting who is likely to pester me about raw, I crack the egg into a glass ramakin and nuke for about 15 seconds.

                                        1. Ruthie789 Feb 24, 2013 06:05 PM

                                          My recipe is similar to yours except I add the lemon after the leaves have been tossed with the dressing, it seems to keep the lemon flavour in the salad. I use a recipe from the Seagram's cookbook. You also do not add the little green bits,capers which do add flavour.

                                          1. linguafood Feb 24, 2013 10:54 PM

                                            Pretty much close to your recipe -- about 3-4 cloves of garlic, 4-6 anchovy filets, sea salt, dijon mustard all mashed up to a paste. Then I add a raw whole egg (I am lucky enough to get very fresh eggs from a friend), and the juice of a lemon. I then add 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil (I adjust proportions depending on how many people I make this for -- being a huge salad eater myself, I tend to make a lot :-)). Lots of ground pepper.

                                            I then toss, then add 1/2 cup of freshly grated parm. Sometimes I add some more parm. I've made Caesar salad for a bunch of potlucks now and know to bring extra dressing, not to dress the salad too soon, and to also have extra grated cheese on hand.

                                            Oh, and I generally don't use croutons, but am tempted to some time make the anchovy croutons April Bloomfield uses at The Breslin. Those are crazy delicious.

                                            And adding bacon? How come I've never thought of that??

                                            1. m
                                              masha Feb 25, 2013 08:12 AM

                                              I don't make it all that often but when I do I follow this recipe from the NY Times, which includes coddled egg:

                                              http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/din...

                                              1. pagesinthesun Feb 26, 2013 10:23 AM

                                                http://www.marthastewart.com/344835/c...

                                                The only recipe I've ever used. This one does contain egg yolk.

                                                1. ChefJune Feb 26, 2013 10:37 AM

                                                  I make it just like you, but add the egg. It wouldn't be Caesar Salad w/o the egg... not for me. I make it the same way and in the same bowl my Dad made it (my first memory of it) when I was 5 or 6 years old.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: ChefJune
                                                    CindyJ Feb 27, 2013 06:08 AM

                                                    Do you use a whole egg or just the yolk? And do you coddle the egg or leave it raw?

                                                    1. re: CindyJ
                                                      linguafood Feb 27, 2013 10:21 AM

                                                      I use a whole egg raw. But I get super-fresh eggs from a friend.

                                                  2. Ruthie789 Feb 27, 2013 10:56 AM

                                                    I have read through this thread, and do not see much reference to the capers. For me the capers, along with the lemon, cracked pepper really give the salad a bright taste infusion.

                                                    1. f
                                                      FataMagistra Feb 27, 2013 02:30 PM

                                                      Like many others here, I make mine very similarly, except I don't add Tabasco. Sometimes when I'm lazy or am out of whole anchovies, I use anchovy paste instead :)

                                                      As for the egg question, there's just something about a runny egg yolk that really adds to the salad so I'm on the "must have egg" team. I don't think the white does much one way or the other, and I usually find that the dressing is creamy enough with all the smashed garlic and anchovies whisked with the mustard etc., so what I often do these days is to very lightly poach eggs till the white just cooks, and serve it over each individual salad. That way folks can have the fun of smooshing up and mixing in their own egg, and I don't have to worry about someone freaking out about raw egg ...

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: FataMagistra
                                                        h
                                                        HillJ Feb 27, 2013 02:33 PM

                                                        The raw yolk doesn't freak me out actually, I just don't like what it does to the cheese. Given the popularity of eggless Caesar salad, I'm in good company.

                                                        But carry on egg lovers!

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