The first time I ever had a Caesar Salad was on a business trip to Minneapolis. It was made tableside with great fanfare and I loved it.
I’ve been making Caesars ever since, but something just wasn’t right. It took a trip to Cafe Nonna in Nashville for me to figure it out–I was trying to do too much. I was using too much garlic, too much cheese and too much oil.
I came home, scaled back and started over.
Like any salad dressing recipe, the amounts are iffy, so taste as you go.
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 egg boiled for 3 minutes
sundried tomatoes (I know–it’s not what the purists would include but I think they’re great)
pine nuts (again, not traditional, but a good addition)
finely grated parmesean
anchovy fillets (up to you)
In the bottom of the same bowl you’ll be mixing the salad in, add garlic, juice of half a lemon and a pinch of salt. Let that stand a few minutes so the garlic will soften.
Whisk in about twice as much olive oil as there is lemon juice. The dressing should thicken up a bit.
Add in about a half tablespoon of mustard.
Taste everything. Is there too much acid? Too much oil? Play with the flavors until they suit you.
Now bring a small pan of water to a boil and drop the egg in. Cook for three minutes. Rinse the egg in cold water for a bit so you can handle it. Break it open and add the yolk to the dressing. Whisk everything together and give a final taste. Adjust with more lemon, oil or salt if necessary.
Add the lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, pine nuts and croutons and toss.
Serve in chilled bowls. Add anchovy filets last–lay on top.
FAVORITE NEW PRODUCT
I found these in the produce section at Publix a few months ago and have been using them ever since. They’re perfect for sprinking on salads and resealable containers are, in my opinion, just about the best invention ever.