CHARLOTTE – It is one of the most popular dressings consumed in the United States, #2 in fact, but where does it come from? Many people think that Caesar Dressing came from Italy- WRONG, or that over 2000 years ago, as Brute joined Julius Caesar for a meal before the “ides of March”…. Right???? That would not be correct either. Caesar dressing was created by someone who was Italian and with the namesake- however, it actually comes from Mr. Caesar Cardini. Chef Cardini invented the dressing while he was working on the coast in Northern Mexico during the Prohibition. He took the ingredients that were available to him and created a legendary flavor profile that is unlike any traditional dressing. Traditional Caesar includes romaine lettuce, the creamy dressing, croutons and parmesan. I add Kalamata olives, as well as heirloom grape tomatoes. It’s about that time- my Romaine is starting to cup around each other and in 2 more weeks, I should have a few nice young heads to make a Caesar! Now… put on some Sinatra and make some memories! Enjoy~
Et Tu’ Caesar Dressing? (yield 4-6 servings)
Prep Time: 35 Minutes | On the Table: 1 hour
1 small can Anchovies fillets in oil | 3 Garlic cloves, fresh | 3 Pasteurized Eggs
1 Lemon, juiced by hand | 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard | 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
8 oz. Olive Oil, blend is fine | 16 oz. Salad Oil | 4 oz. Red Wine Vinegar
2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce | 3 shots Tabasco Sauce (yes, really)
½ cup grated parmesan cheese | ½ teaspoon Sea Salt
1 large head Romaine lettuce | Olive Oil | Italian Seasoning | 1 jar Kalamata Olives
2 Ciabatta rolls | Parmesan to garnish | 1 pint Grape Tomatoes, heirloom
Grilled Chicken, Salmon or Shrimp – Your Choice
****YOU MUST HAVE A HIGH-SPEED BLENDER FOR THIS RECIPE****
Break out your high-speed blender- I prefer Vitamix or Ninja. Drain the oil off your anchovies and set aside. Separate your eggs and set aside. In the bottom of the blender, place your garlic bulbs, Dijon mustard, egg yolks and anchovies. Mix on high as much as you can to start breaking down the garlic and anchovies. It may be difficult, as smaller amounts of product have trouble blending completely. Change your speed to medium and VERY SLOWLY add in your olive oil- did I say slow- please do this intentionally slow. You will start to see a “mousseline” form. Once all of the olive oil is in, return to mixing at the highest setting for 30 seconds. Stop the blender and scrape the sides of the blender with a rubber spatula, add in the lemon juice, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, sea salt and tabasco. Blend again at the highest setting for 30 seconds. Scrape the sides and add the red wine vinegar and parmesan. Now- start the blender at its lowest speed and gradually move to the highest speed. Carefully start to pour in your salad oil at the highest speed- this should be a measured behavior, pouring a steady, thin stream into the blender. Once you have finished doing this last task, remove the blender and place in your cooler.
Assuming you have your protein of choice marinating and ready to be grilled- you will want to make some quick croutons by dicing up the ciabatta rolls, tossing with a small amount of olive oil and seasoning with Italian herbs, salt and pepper. Bake these off in a 400-degree oven until they are golden brown around the edges. Wash and chop your Romaine lettuce, try and get as much water out of it as possible. For assembly, place the romaine lettuce, a few Kalamata olives (your choice on how many or how few), heirloom tomatoes and about 8-10 oz. of Caesar dressing into the bowl. Toss gingerly, adding more dressing if you desire. Finally, place the salad into your service plate or salad bowl, top with the croutons and garnish with your warm protein and parmesan cheese. This goes great with a Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay! Share meals together, Food is Life, Food is Love!
Chef Glenn is a corporate chef based in Waxhaw- please send any feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org