This is the simplest, and perhaps most traditional, of the 3 Caesar recipes on deck. The type of classic Caesar that you can picture being prepared tableside at one of those old-school steak houses. Because of the simplicity of this recipe, it is important to use ingredients that can really help it shine. Good-quality, oil-packed anchovies. Farm-fresh eggs. Hearty, crusty bread. If all of these ingredients are good, this dish can be a slap in the face to all of the over-drenched, lifeless Caesars that have ever come before it.
The dressing might look darker than you’d expect - and it certainly is when compared to the other 2 recipes presented - but with it comes a unique depth of flavor brought by the melding of the anchovies, garlic, and salt. Although the presence of the garlic is still noted, this recipe doesn’t quite bring the punch and pungency that the other two deliver, making itself perhaps a better option to those for whom garlic is more of a repellent than an attractor.
BA’s Best: Caesar Salad
Taken directly from BA’s Best arsenal, with the smallest of tweaks here and there
6 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
2 small cloves of garlic
2 large egg yolks
2 tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice, plus extra (I usually find that 1 large lemon = ~3 tbsp of juice)
¾ tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup vegetable oil (e.g. canola)
3 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 loaf of country bread, torn into 3 cups’ worth of croutons
3 tbsp olive oil
Salad and Assembly:
3 Romaine hearts, leaves separated
Parmesan cheese, for serving (don’t you dare reach for that powdered shit)
Make the dressing by chopping the anchovy fillets and garlic together along with a pinch of kosher salt. Take the side of the knife and use it to swipe across the ingredients to mash them into a paste (like you’re flattening them across the cutting board). Give the ingredients another quick chop to ensure that they’re as smooth as possible (no big hunks of garlic or anchovy). Scrape into a medium-sized bowl. Whisk in the egg yolks, 2 tbsp of lemon juice, and the Dijon. Start whisking in the olive oil, drop by drop. Go REAL SLOW. Once the olive oil is emulsified, whisk in the vegetable oil, also drop by drop. A handy way to do this is to either wrap a damp dish towel around the bowl (to keep it from slipping) or have a nice person hold the base of the bowl while you whisk and pour. If you do the latter option, you also now have a friend to eat with! Once the oil is completely incorporated and the dressing appears thick and glossy, stir in the grated parmesan. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and extra lemon juice if desired. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Onto the croutons! Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. While the oven heats, toss the torn bread pieces with the olive oil on a lined baking sheet, making sure each piece gets a little coating of oil. Season with salt and pepper and pop in the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to allow all the sides to brown. Let cool completely.
Now to assemble the salad. I prefer to not use the first few outer leaves of the Romaine hearts as I find them quite unwieldy to serve whole. Instead, I kept the outer leaves for other Caesars (e.g. those that get chopped) and used the smaller inner leaves for this salad. Whatever leaves you choose to use is purely personal preference. Arrange your leaves on a large platter or even a thick cutting board or slab. Scatter the croutons over the Romaine leaves then drizzle lightly with the prepared dressing (again, a squeeze bottle makes it wayyyy easier to control your distribution of dressing). Take your parmesan cheese and, using a vegetable peeler, rain down shavings of parmesan all across your great Caesar. Serve immediately and with pride.