Is your family like mine? Are you met with a chorus of “Yuks or Ewwws” whenever you serve a salad? Do you have to stop yourself from saying “eat it, it’s good for you” which would only make it worse anyways. Or you return home from the Farmer’s Market with basketful of kale or frisee’ or arugula (it looked so pretty at the market) and just as you are about to put it in the crisper you have that epiphany “what was I thinking, no one is going to eat this”.
Thank goodness for Caesar Salad. It is quite possibly the only salad my kids and hubby will eat aside from Taco Salad or Chinese Chicken Salad. Which, lets face it, are only called salads because of the tiny bit of greens at the bottom of the bowl usually buried by tortilla chips, cheese and guacamole or fried won ton skins and shredded chicken.
Do you use a bottled Caesar dressing or wait to you dine out to have a Caesar Salad? If so, give this a try instead. The recipe comes from the now defunct Gourmet Magazine (though it still exists online). Caesar Salad Mitchell was a hidden gem I came across in the You Asked For It column. You won’t need raw or coddled eggs or anchovies. It is really easy, promise, and has been my go to Caesar Salad forever. Over the years I have tweaked the recipe by adding Vietnamese Fish Sauce and more recently, Shiro Dashi a Japanese fish sauce/stock. Both pump up the flavor or “umami” of the dressing without having to add actual anchovies. The Shiro dashi adds an extra element of smokiness that is delicious.
No eggs to coddle! The dressing contains sour cream and mustard that add the creaminess and tang to the dressing. I think you will like it.
The beauty of Caesar Salad is its versatility. In its simplest form, romaine, croutons, Parmesan cheese, dressing, finished with a couple of twists of black pepper, bingo done. But for a more substantial salad add avocado, chicken or seafood such as shrimp or crab. I have transformed it into a delicious pasta salad by tossing in some cooked penne. Done, drop the mic and serve. The dressing can be made in advance. It comes together quickly if you use a hand blender but really doesn’t take much more time even if you whisk it by hand.
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced and mashed to a paste with a pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or to taste (if using the fish sauce or shirodashi decrease)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 tablespoon Vietnamese fish sauce or 1 tablespoon Hontsuyu Shiro Dashi (optional but highly recommended)
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 8 cups Romaine lettuce
- Croutons as much as you like! (homemade is nice, great way to use up that day old baguette)
- 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish
- In a bowl stir together garlic, lemon, Worcestershire, mustard, sour cream, pepper and fish sauce (your choice).
- Slowly add the oil in a stream, whisking constantly until the dressing is emulsified
- Stir in grated cheese
- Add to Romaine and toss well.
- Add any additional toppings, diced avocados, poached chicken or seafood..use your imagination!