How Do You Make Caesar Salad? The Ultimate Caesar Salad Recipe
Tangy, spicy, garlicky caesar salad recipe
How do you make caesar salad? There are many different methods and philosophies for making this popular salad and I'm going to share my family recipe with you. I'll also share the special technique we use to make every caesar salad magnificent (more on this later).
Every family has one special meal that binds the family unit together. This meal is the one that gets pulled out for special occasions, is served when fences need to be mended and is associated with many memories and the family history. For my family this meal is the caesar salad. I have been known to eat lightly throughout the day in anticipation for this caesar salad at dinner.
I'm not sure where my caesar salad recipe originated from but it has been tweaked and changed over the years and grown into what I consider to be the 'Ultimate Caesar Salad Recipe'. It's not the creamy version that is often served in restaurants. This one is tangy, garlicky and spicy - it's caesar salad with attitude!
We eat it this caesar salad dish as a meal but you can also serve it as a side dish along side your favourite meal or add grilled chicken or prawns.
I get loads of compliments every time I make this caesar salad and you will too.
All images © Tara Wojtaszek, 2012.
Caesar Salad Ingredients: - What you will need to make a fabulous caesar salad
Serves 3 people as a meal or 6 as a side dish.
3 heads of romaine lettuce (cos lettuce)
3 slices of whole grain bread
butter or coconut oil (for croutons)
1 cup extra light olive oil
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
~7 drops Tabasco sauce
~7 drops fresh lemon juice
8 cloves of garlic
1 egg yolk (optional - more on this later)
8 tbsp parmesan cheese
(optional: you can add bacon if desired)
As a rule of thumb, I always use about one good size head of lettuce per person and 1 - 1.5 slices of bread per person.
Extra Light Olive Oil
It's best to choose a light tasting olive oil for this caesar salad recipe. With other recipes you may want the subtle flavour of extra virgin olive oil, but with this salad the olive oil is not the star of the show and you don't want it to dominate. I once made the mistake of using EVOO for this salad, and I hate to say it but I couldn't eat it. It just ruined the salad.
This is my favourite brand of olive oil because it is so light tasting. I've tried other brands but I always come back to this one.
Other Caesar Salad Ingredients: - Very important for a fabulous caesar salad
Originally from India, this sauce was dissected and recreated by two chemists and has become a classic British sauce. No other Worcestershire sauce compares to Lea and Perrins.
An incredible fiery red pepper sauce with aged red peppers, Avery Island salt and high quality distilled natural vinegar.
Preparation for the Caesar Salad
When I make this salad, often I'm multitasking to save time. You can do this or you can assign a job to each family member.
I'm going to break down each step into separate categories for the purpose of demonstration, but when I make the salad it looks like this:
Put toast in the toaster oven. Start washing and tearing up the lettuce.
Remove toast and set up to cool. Continue washing the lettuce.
Once cooled, cut up the toast and add to skillet with butter (or coconut oil) and cook over medium to medium-high heat.
Finish washing the lettuce while stirring the croutons (I stir after each 2 -3 leaves).
Continue to stir the croutons while making the dressing. Turn the croutons down if necessary.
Make the dressing, add the lettuce and remaining ingredients.
As you wash the lettuce, you'll want to tear it into bite sized pieces as you add it to your lettuce spinner. Dry it using the salad spinner and set aside for later (I usually have to use several bowls to hold all the lettuce).
How to Make Croutons for a Caesar Salad
Croutons taste best when you make them yourself
You can buy ready-made croutons from the store, but they just don't taste the same as when you make them yourself. It's really easy to do and doesn't take too long either. But, you do need to keep an eye on them to prevent them from burning while you are busy with the other salad preparations. The extra effort pays off though.
Toast your bread on medium to medium-dark. You want it to be thoroughly toasted but you don't want to add too much colour or it may burn later on.
Stand your bread up and allow it to cool completely (if you try to cut it while it is hot it will tear instead of cut).
Slice your toast into small cubes (I usually do 1/2 or 3/4 cm cubes, but you can go rustic if you choose. But just remember, smaller cubes = more croutons).
Add 2 - 3 tbsp of butter or coconut oil to a frying pan and add bread cubes.
Stir until thoroughly cooked and crunchy. Be careful not to burn your croutons, frequent stirring will help solve this problem and you can always turn down the heat to 'minimum' while you work on the rest of the salad. Just be sure to heat them back up before adding to the salad. Or, if making this dish as a family, you can have a designated 'crouton stirrer' in charge of the operation.
Photo Gallery: How to Make CroutonsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Seven Piece Cherry Salad Bowl Set
A beautiful set of wooden bowls is a great way to make and serve caesar salad. We have always used a wooden bowl set for our ultimate caesar salad recipe.
This gorgeous cherry wood bowl set is perfect for Caesar salads. The main serving bowl is 12 x 4 inches and the smaller bowls are 7 x 2.5 inches. This set comes with serving utensils and is so beautiful you'll want to display the main bowl as a centrepiece. Makes a great gift.
If you are allergic to eggs, don't eat them, or are pregnant, you can omit the egg and still have a fantastic caesar salad.
Caesar Salad Dressing
How to make the ultimate caesar salad dressing
When I make this dish I just eyeball the ingredients. It gives the salad a certain charm and makes it slightly different every time. But, I have worked out the measurements to share with you. The main thing to remember, when adjusting for larger or smaller quantities, is to use three parts olive oil to one part Worcestershire sauce. Then you can add in the other ingredients to taste (I only ever use one egg yolk though).
Add the olive oil to the bowl first. Then add the Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce and lemon juice. You can use store bought lemon juice but I think juice from a fresh lemon is best. You can save the lemon and serve fish later in the week or you can whip up a batch of gin & tonics as aperitifs to use up the rest of the lemon.
Press the garlic using a garlic press and add this to the bowl. I don't recommend using crushed garlic from a jar or garlic powder. You want the flavour and kick that only fresh garlic can give.
If using, separate your egg yolk and add. This is completely optional and if you are allergic to eggs or are pregnant you can omit the egg. I wasn't willing to give up caesar salads during my pregnancy so I experimented and left the egg out. The only difference is the texture of the dressing (which you won't even notice once the lettuce is mixed in), the flavour is still the same.
Stir briskly for about a minute until the dressing is completely mixed and has thickened slightly (this won't happen if you're skipping the egg, but don't worry, just mix as best as you can).
Taste your dressing. Dip a leaf of lettuce in the dressing and see how it tastes. You can make any necessary adjustments as needed. For more spice, add another clove of garlic or a drop or two of Tabasco sauce. If you want it slightly sweeter, add a little more Worcestershire sauce.
Once your dressing is perfect, add the lettuce in batches mixing thoroughly before adding the next amount. You want to ensure the dressing coats the lettuce evenly otherwise you may end up with a clump of garlic or too much tobasco on one leaf.
Now add the parmesan cheese. You can use grated parmesan, or if you want the salad to be extra special, you can use a mixture of grated and shredded parmesan. You can also buy a block of parmesan and grate it fresh. Mix thoroughly.
Once upon a time we used to add bacon to this salad. When my father became vegetarian, we made the bacon separately and added it to individual salads. Over time we omitted it completely. I made a caesar salad not too long ago and decided to add the bacon in again. Lo an behold, I've gotten so used to not having bacon that I actually prefer it without the bacon (I know, bacon blasphemy!). So, it's up to you. You can cook bacon and tear it into small chunks to add to the salad, or you can make it without.
Thoroughly Mix Your Caesar Salad Dressing
The Special Finishing Technique for the Ultimate Casar Salad - The big finish
Now you are ready for the final step. The big finish.
This is very important.
Make sure the croutons are hot and the room is silent.....
Pour the croutons onto the salad and listen for the sizzle as they hit the cold lettuce.
If you don't hear the sizzle then you have to throw the whole thing out and start over (just kidding, well, sort of...).
This is like popping a champagne cork. If it just kinda eases out, you'll still drink the champagne but it's rather anticlimactic, don't you think?
Mix thoroughly and serve to your eagerly awaiting guests.
Prep Time: 45
Total Time: 45
Serves: 3 - 6
- 3 large romaine (cos) lettuce
- 3 slices multigrain bread
- 1 c olive oil (light tasting)
- 1/3 c Worcestershire sauce
- 7 drops Tabasco sauce
- 7 drops fresh lemon juice
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 egg yolk (optional)
- 8 tbsp parmesan cheese
- 2 - 3 tbsp butter or coconut oil
- 4 slices of streaky bacon (if using)
- Toast bread, let cool completely. Slice into small cubes. Add to a skillet with butter or coconut oil and stir until browned and crunchy. Be careful not to burn the croutons.
- Wash the lettuce thoroughly, tear into bite sized pieces and dry in a salad spinner. Set aside for later.
- Caesar Salad Dressing:
- Add oil to salad bowl along with Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, lemon juice, pressed garlic and egg yolk (if using). Stir swiftly for about a minute until the sauce is well mixed and has thickened slightly.
- Add lettuce to the dressing in batches stirring thoroughly in between. Stir in the parmesan cheese. Add bacon chunks if using. Add the hot croutons (enjoy the sizzle sound!) and mix together.
- Serve and enjoy!
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