I’ve been reluctant to post this.
In fact I’m kind of reluctant to make Cesars, period. However it was strongly suggested I do so, as some would hold that this, for me, is a so called ‘signature dish’.
I feel I have moved on from there – years ago. But such is life, and with a sigh, I haul it out and present it here, with a few photos.
My own learning about Cesars came many years ago hearing it described on the radio. The underlying idea (of the dressing that is – the heart of the salad, really) is the method of adding ingredients one at a time, from smallest to largest, driest to wettest, culminating with the acid (lemon juice) and oil (olive).
My Cesar is pretty close to the original Cardini recipe – the Wikipedia article covers this well, though I do start off with mustard and add in basil, thyme and oregano. I do not use bacon bits or anchovies, and I do like nice big grates of parmesan.
This recipe, in combination with the Pizza recipe, can give you dinner in an hour assuming you have croutons already on hand.
1 tbs Dijon mustard
3 tbs grated Parmesan
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1/8-1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 big clove of fresh garlic, crushed in a garlic press
several shakes of hot sauce (Tabasco or your own)
juice from half lemon
1 cup olive oil
Bread – about 2-3 medium to thick slices
2 tbs olive oil
1 garlic clove
1-2 pinches of salt
Romaine lettuce up to 1 head depending on the size
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
Fresh Parmesan grated in big slivers
The earlier you can make this, the better. But it is the first thing you should do.
- Mix/whisk the ingredients one at a time, in the same order suggested in the ingredients list.
- Add the olive oil last, whisking it in slowly. It will emulsify easily, and if you are too vigorous, too slow, you will end up with Cesar mayonnaise – not a bad thing at all – a delicious dip in fact.
Leave the dressing to the side so the flavours can combine.
I almost always have some croutons already made. Whenever I make bread, I’ll do something with the last few slices left over: thin slice, slather with garlic or mustard and put in dehydrator to make drybread crackers, or dry and grind into breadcrumbs, or make croutons.
- Heat olive oil in pan, add a crushed garlic clove and salt
- Add bread chopped into small squares, turn the heat to lowest. cook at lowest heat, no lid on, stirring occasionally until they have reached the desired crunchiness – usually about an hour.
- Wash and cut romaine lettuce
- Thin slice a quarter of a medium red onion
- Combine and mix
- Coarsely grate fresh Parmesan cheese over top
- Add the croutons and dressing immediately before serving. If you add the croutons too early they will absorb the water from the lettuce and onions and become nasty and mushy.