Classic Caesar Salad features a flavorful (egg-free!) dressing, garlicky homemade croutons, and fresh shaved Parmesan atop crunchy hearts of romaine!
Waaaay back at the beginning of the summer, I made my family this homemade Caesar Salad for the first time…and they positively scarfed it down. So I made it again on Father’s Day. And on the 4th of July. And on regular ol’ weeknights a half dozen times in between. And never have I seen my boys so enthusiastic to eat salad!
I think the secret to this salad’s success is in the combination of textures and flavors…crisp romaine, crunchy/buttery croutons, and a tangy dressing. It’s fresh, it’s flavorful, it’s fabulous! There’s a reason it’s a classic.
I did take a slight detour from typical Casar dressing recipes in that this one is egg-free…I simply didn’t want to have to worry about the whole raw egg issue. This dressing does include the critical Caesar salad ingredient of anchovies, however, which adds oodles of flavor (but not at all a fishy flavor, scout’s honor). I actually prefer using anchovy paste over whole anchovies because it’s so easy…no need to mash up any little fish (because if you’re like me — ick). And as a bonus, you can screw the cap back on for the unused portion of anchovy paste to be saved for your next round of Caesar dressing. You know you’re going to want to make it again! 😉
I think the key to making a great Classic Caesar Salad is to use fresh ingredients. I like to buy a package of whole hearts of romaine and then tear or slice them myself, but you can buy tub of already-chopped romaine hearts if you prefer. I make my favorite homemade croutons for this salad, going generous on the garlic and a little lighter on the herbs. In the dressing, I use freshly-grated Parmesan (a must!), freshly-squeezed lemon juice, and freshly-cracked pepper. And I usually buy a tub of fresh shaved Parmesan for the salad garnish (because it’s quicker/easier than shaving that quantity myself, but you can certainly shave it yourself using a vegetable peeler). I like using shaved Parmesan in Ceasar Salad because the large surface area of the Parmesan shavings allows the salty flavor to really shine though — plus I enjoy the smooth texture — but you can certainly substitute grated or shredded Parmesan instead.
Any time you make a salad, the ratio of lettuce to dressing can be a little bit tricky. That’s particularly the case with Caesar, since hearts of romaine come in different weights and sizes and telling you to use “three hearts of romaine” may result in too much or too little greens-to-dressing. So my recommendation is to pay attention to the weight of the bag or tub of romaine that you buy — you may end up using all of it or you may not — and gradually add the other ingredients to your salad until the proportions are to your liking. In particular, exercise your judgement when adding the dressing to the salad. Some people prefer more dressing and some people prefer less, so you may have a little dressing left over depending on how much lettuce you use. I know this isn’t rocket science…I just want your salad to turn out perfect. 🙂
Hope y’all love this one as much as my family does. We may be wrapping up the “Summer of the Salad” ’round here, but here’s to Classic Caesar Salad all year long! Have a great weekend…and be sure to check back next week for some BIG NEWS! 😉
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