Caesar Dressing

caesar-dressingMy lovely 16 year old son has become a salad eating afficiando – he absolutely loves them and has a huge portion after every meal. Yesterday, I didn’t feel like cooking – we had some left over chicken from the night before but I really fancied a herby Greek salad type meal with lots of chopped cucumber, feta and mint. So when Jake came bounding down the stairs and asked what was for dinner as he couldn’t smell anything (!), I replied “A chopped Greek salad” and waited for him to say “Oh great  – how long until we eat?!”  Instead he paused and then said – “Hey Mum, can we have a chicken Caesar salad instead? It’s my new favourite salad.” Well, how could I refuse?

I used to love Caesar Salads when I lived in Canada – crisp salad leaves, crunchy croutons, grainy parmesan cheese and a dreamy, creamy, pungent sauce – I was in! I was also butterfingers yesterday, managing to drop a fresh roll of paper towels into a sink full of dirty water, which really, really annoyed me! That was just before I knocked over a bottle of oil which dripped onto the smooth tiled kitchen floor, ensuring that I had to stop and have a huge clean up and wipe down. At that point, I didn’t like my chances of ending up Humpty-Dumpty-like, on that floor!

caesar-dressing

Chicken Caesar Salad

I know that the dressing traditionally has a raw egg in it but decided that mayonnaise would be a good substitute as it is already egg and oil based and I have to say that I am quite pleased with the result as was Jake. Don’t miss out the anchovies – they add a deep umami flavour that cannot be replicated by salt alone. You could probably substitute with some fish sauce or anchovy paste – you will have to add a little at a time until you get the flavour you like. This makes quite a lot of dressing but it keeps very well and the recipe can easily be halved too.

From the comments below, a few of you have asked about substitutions;

  •  for mayo – I had a google and Jamie Oliver uses Greek yoghurt – it you try it, do come back and let me know and I will update the post with a credit to you and your blog.
  • vegetarian substitute for anchovies – I suggest tamari or soy sauce – start with one teaspoon and see if that adds enough umami – again, do come back and let me know and I will update the post.
  • vegetarian substitute for the chicken – try marinating firm tofu slices in smoky paprika, a little lemon juice and oil, then griddle or barbecue.

caesar-dressing

Caesar Dressing

  • Servings: 300 ml
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise – don’t skimp on the quality here
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • juice of one lemon – about 50 ml or so – see my Tips and Tricks page on how to get the most juice out of a lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 anchovies preserved in oil
  • freshly ground black pepper – about ½ tsp
  • 120ml/ ½ cup mild olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp oil from the anchovies – optional but good!
  • 35 g parmesan cheese grated

To serve (for 2 people)

  • 1 large slice of  sourdough or ciabatta bread cubed into croutons
  • a little olive oil
  • Half a romaine lettuce, washed and dried
  • 2 cooked  and sliced chicken breasts – barbecued or cooked on the griddle is the tastiest. Ours was room temperature.
  • grated parmesan cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, anchovies and black pepper in the bowl of a small food processor and blitz until smooth.
  2. With the motor running, slowly stream in the olive oil and the anchovy oil to emulsify the sauce. Add the oil slowly – this is the key to the dressing emulsifying and not splitting – the mustard really helps with this process in any case.
  3. Taste and adjust the flavour (not the salt though as the parmesan goes in next). More garlic? Add another crushed clove. If it’s too sharp from the lemon, add a little more oil but we found that the above measurements were perfect.
  4. Scrape into a bowl and stir in the parmesan cheese (or you could carry on blitzing in the food processor but I was using my really small one and didn’t have enough space!)
  5. Taste again and make any final adjustments to the flavour.

To serve

  1. Toss the bread cubes in a little olive oil and either cook them in a dry non-stick frying pan or toast in a hot oven for 5 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to cool.
  2. Tear up the romaine leaves into manageable pieces and place in a large bowl.
  3. Top with the chicken/tofu and croutons.
  4. Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of the dressing and toss well to coat. Add more if you like more dressing on the salad.
  5. Scatter with some grated parmesan cheese, dish up and enjoy, hopefully alfresco with a large glass of cold Sauvignon Blanc!

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Advertisements

65 thoughts on “Caesar Dressing

    • Thanks TIna – I have to be honest, at first I thought that he might be having some body image issues (he’s 6 ft and slim but he’s also at that age…) so I kept an eye on what he was eating but then realised that he was still eating cheese and crackers after school and ice-cream and cakes so I stopped worrying and realised that his palate had adjusted to the taste of leaves and sharp dressings…which is great news of course!

      Like

  1. This looks refreshingly crisp and energizing for a hot summer’s day Selma. Kudos to your son for encouraging you to make your salad a meal. It looks pretty darn appetizing. :)

    Like

  2. I love that Jake actually requested salad! I can’t wait for the day that Ben does!! Love the dressing and I’ve got some mayo made up in my fridge right now too….:) xxx (I spilt a huge amount of olive oil on the floor recently, it’s a bugger to clean up isn’t it??)

    Like

  3. I love a good Caesar salad and this dressing looks perfect. I will have to keep in mind the mayo substitute for raw egg next time I make this, and I agree, the anchovies give it such an umami flavor, you must use it to get the full effect of the dressing. YUM. It’s great that your son likes salads so much!

    Like

    • I don’t know if you would get the same flavour Vivienne. Mayo is basically egg and oil and I am using it to replace the raw egg that is traditionally a component in this dressing. However, I have just done a quick google search and Jamie Oliver uses Greek yoghurt so give it a go and let me know how it turns out! x

      Like

    • He will Deena – I never expected Jake to take to salads but he has – finally. He always ate veggies but didn’t really like the bitterness of salad leaves and the acidity of dressings but I guess his palate is growing up!

      Like

    • Oil spills are just awful – such a palaver to clear up – must have been very difficult to clean the boot of your car though. I really had butter fingers yesterday though – kept dropping things and knocking stuff over…

      Like

  4. Your son is incredibly lucky to have such a doting mum! So, did you have both salads that night? We are also huge salad fans in our house – a huge one at every meal, for sure. Your recipe is great because of the potent fish (YUM) and lack of raw eggs (great for pregnant and immunocompromised folks). Your writing is as great as the recipe. You are a storyteller and use wonderful diction.

    Like

    • Thanks so much Shanna – I don’t dote on Jake as much as I used to when he was a cute, adorable boy – now he’s at the infuriating age – he knows EVERYTHING, he spends hours on the phone and in the shower, his room looks like a bomb’s gone off in it, and I have to ask him over and over again to do his chores – aargh!! Yes, we both had the salad – I’ve never cooked separate meals for us – well not since he came off pureed food…

      Like

      • I am guilty of making my toddlers separate meals. They often eat dinner at five, and my husband works long hours (home at eight or nine on an early day, after starting at four or five in the morning!). I like to have dinner with him when it is feasible (I gave up the other night at 11 PM!). My kids have strong personalities, so I know the teenage years will be interesting to say the LEAST. You’re an amazing mom!

        Like

        • As a couple it is important to have some us time and dinner can be such a wonderful vehicle for this – food made and eaten with love! I came to really enjoy eating early with Jake when he was younger – I then had the entire evening free and to myself once he was in bed – I used to get so much done! Your lovely hubbie works mind boggling hours, Shanna and he must love coming home to one of your wonderful dinners and a catch up with you. Brace yourself for the teenage years – every horrible thing you ever did as a teen will come back to haunt you! Still love the little monsters, of course!!!

          Like

  5. Caesar Salad is worth a post of its own, especially when requested by a young man!! I will never forget being in a fancy, schmancy restaurant in the USA many years ago and having our waiter make the Caesar Salad for us at the table, what a treat! Thank you.

    Like

    • Oh Ardys – that sounds amazing – sometimes a little bit of table side theatre is such a treat. I remember crepes suzette being assembled and flambeed at the table – years ago now. It’s funny the things one remembers!

      Like

    • We had some again last night – this time I marinated strips of chicken breast in lemon juice, olive oil, smokey paprika, poblano chilli powder and salt which I cooked quickly on a hot griddle pan so that the chicken stayed tender and moist. It was wonderful with the romaine lettuce and the dressing! Come back and let me know what you think if you try it Stephanie…

      Like

  6. I love Caesar salad and so do my kids, but I have never made homemade Caesar dressing before. I bet it is so much better than store bought. I will have to try it sometime when the kids are here for dinner. Thanks for sharing the recipe, Selma!

    Like

    • My pleasure Shari! I am sure that you can buy it bottled here in the UK but I always mix up a little salad dressing every day so never really look to see what is available in the shops. It’s so much better to make your own – no weird additives/preservatives/sugar etc.

      Like

  7. Wow, a son at home who eats salad! Mine didn’t touch vegetables – raw or cooked – until he moved out for Uni. Now he craves rocket and loves Caesar salad – will be making this soon. One of our family favourites.

    Like

    • Oh how funny! Jake has always been quite good with veggies except for a few which have textural issues – aubergines, courgettes and mushrooms spring to mind. I have a feeling that once he gets to Uni he will be eating beans on toast, instant noodles pasta pesto…I started this blog so that he would be able to cook from it but I have deviated slightly from featuring the meals he loves – need to get back on track!

      Like

      • Selma – I wrote my son a cookbook to take to Uni. All his friends, both male and female were cooking from it by second semester. By year 2, I had to revise it to add more veggie recipes. I wish I had thought of blogging – saves all that paper and all those revisions!

        Like

    • Thanks! We had another Caesars Salad yesterday and finished off the rest of the dressing! My son is 16 so not so young and has only started eating salads in the past couple of years – more so recently though!

      Like

  8. Oh, Selma, I like Caesar salad, as many fresh salads, and dressing looks smooth :) but I’m trying not to use mayo, only if it will be homemade.. Can I reduce the quantity or add some sour cream?

    Like

    • Of course Mila, you can either use 1Tbsp mayo and 1 Tbsp sour cream or use 2 Tbsp yoghurt instead – if you do, please come back and let me know what you thought and I will update the recipe giving you a credit x :)

      Like

  9. How wonderful that your son loves salads as much as he does! Now if all kids felt the same way about their greens! Your Caesar dressing sounds great, Selma. I’m a big fan of anchovies and like to add whole ones to my salad as well!

    Like

    • I know that I have been so so lucky that Jake was fairly easy going with food from a very young age. When he was weaning,I used to puree all sorts of vegetables and freeze them in ice cube trays so he was used to the taste quite early on. I would spend an afternoon steaming, pureeing and freezing then all I had to do was take out a few cubes, heat them with a bit of formula and his meal was ready! More people should do that – I really think it makes all the difference…

      Like

      • That is so smart! I’m storing that idea away for when I have kids. My brother and I grew up on veggies. My mom made us rice porridge when she weaned us. I believe she made it with veggies and blended it all together.

        Like

        • You should ask her exactly what she did, though if she is anything like my mum, she won’t remember because it was just so ordinary! It just makes sense – I was a bit, ahem, obsessive but why buy those processed jars of sugar laden crapola when for a little effort once every couple of weeks, you can give your baby pure, unadulterated food…by the time he was 6 or 7 months old I used to include steamed and mashed fish which I would mix with a bit of mashed broccoli and peas plus a little mashed potato and make fish balls which I would freeze – he loved them!

          Like

          • I agree with you about the processed foods!! My mom raised us the old fashioned way, which is the only way she knew since there was no such thing as prepared foods in Vietnam back then. I’m grateful for that. Everything we ate was fresh and homemade. All stocks and soups as well. It’s great that you are the same way, Selma!! Jake is a lucky boy. <3

            Like

  10. Shouldn’t really write this but I’m so glad I’m not the only klutz in the kitchen! That’s after setting off the fire alarm tonight grilling pitta bread. Hmm. As for the dressing, really must try this. As I make mayo with poached egg yolks. Much safer that way. There’s no chance of getting really fresh eggs where I live. Would have to sub the anchovy. Pomegranate molasses?

    Like

    • Hi Johnny – those smoke and fire alarms are just ridiculous – a small wisp and they are off! Apparently you can get heat alarms for the kitchen instead which makes much more sense really! The sauce is really really good but don’t sub pom mol for anchovy – it is too tart and sweet. Try a couple of tsp of dark soy sauce instead – you want a deep salty flavour really. Can’t you get those anchovies in tins or anchovy paste or is it that you just don’t like the flavour?

      Like

      • Anchovy pasty would probably be the better option. Excepting that I’m still not eating meat/fish. Usually it’s a case of using some of a tin but chucking the rest – which is such a waste. Hoping to make it to the superstores this week so I’ll look for something suitable then. Actually, I’ve just had home-made potato salad, which was good. Yes, you’re right. It’s so long since I’ve used pom molasses I’d forgotten just how tart it can be.

        Like

  11. Hi Selma! Thrilled that I discovered your blog :) Also really neat that you have incorporated peoples comments/questions back in to your post. Love it!

    Like

    • Hi Sarah! I find that I now get so many comments that I have to edit the posts to answer questions or include suggestions as readers will not read through all the comments! And thank you for your lovely comments.

      Like

  12. Oh, Selma! My mouth was watering while reading this post. This salad sounds really good. I always see homemade Caesar salad dressing using dijon mustard. What’s the difference between dijon mustard and the regular one? :| And it’s good that anchovies are optional here. :D

    PS: I love that transparent teaspoon/tablespoon? :D

    Like

    • Thanks Jhuls! Dijon mustard is smooth a tiny bit sweet and quite hot. English mustard is smooth and hot and grain mustard has all the seeds in it still and is more sweet and aromatic and not very hot at all. When we were in France recently I went into a little shop that sold the most darling things. The little glass pot and spoon is meant to be used for jam! I couldn’t resist it! Xx

      Like

I would so love to hear from you - please do leave a comment! (Your email address will not be visible.) Selma

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s