Posted by: 4whateveritsworth | July 11, 2011

Who Made the Salad?

I have always had an affinity for cooking. I enjoyed  perusing cookbooks and magazines to find just the “right” recipe. I would follow the directions to the letter of the law. As I gained my comfort level with cooking in general, and with a particular recipe, I tweaked it to my personal satisfaction, omitting “this”, and adding “that”, making notes on each recipe as I reinvented it. If it worked, the recipe had essentially been recreated for posterity. When I share a recipe,  I often provide the original, as well as the substitutions or omissions. Way back in middle school cooking class we were trained not to deviate from the recipe, especially when baking, but I rarely abide by that rule. Such a rebel! 🙂 Reducing salt, sugar and oil are 3 easy recipe deviations to consider.

I am hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t enjoy Caesar salad. Always a favorite with my family, a number of years ago I was on the hunt for a Caesar salad recipe that was at least as good as some that I have enjoyed while dining out. In search of the perfect recipe, I contacted my friends with the best reputations for their culinary talents. After receiving 8 or so variations, my goal was to choose a recipe that was fairly simple to make and one that did not require my purchasing a lot of unnecessary ingredients which I would not regularly utilize. Essentially I merged a few of the recipes to create what has become a family favorite, my signature salad. So, go ahead and tweak this one to your liking. Most Caesar salads include raw eggs and anchovies, both of which are omitted here.

Mom’s Caesar Salad

2 T. mayo (I use Trader Joe’s reduced fat mayo)
2 t. Dijon mustard
2 large (or more!) chopped garlic cloves
About 3 lemons of squeezed lemon juice equaling 1/2 c.
1 t. salt (any is fine, though I prefer kosher salt)
At least 1/2 t black pepper, be generous!
1 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan to thicken the body

2 heads (large) romaine lettuce (clean and chop) or 2 to 3 bags of already cleaned and chopped romaine (or lettuce of your choice)
One bag of croutons
Grape or cherry tomatoes (optional)
Up to 1 c. of parmesan cheese when preparing a large salad – I prefer freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano or grana padano (grana padano is usually less expensive than parmigiano-reggiano and a close second)
To save time, use an already grated parmesan cheese.

Mix the first 6 ingredients in the dressing together. Add the olive oil, whisking until well combined. Sample the dressing and adjust seasonings to taste. The recipe for the dressing is plentiful and often can be used for multiple salads. Add as much dressing to the salad, as you prefer. It is quite flavorful, so in this case, “less is more”. Similarly, if you are serving a smaller crowd, you can modify the amount of lettuce. Add croutons and tomatoes. Top with freshly grated parmesan. For a nice touch, grate fresh parmesan on top of each plate of salad, and add freshly ground pepper, just like in the finest restaurants!

The dressing can easily be made a day or 2 ahead and kept refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving. It will solidify while stored in the refrigerator.

Be prepared. Once you start bringing this to social events, you will find that it will be requested over and over again!

Want to turn this salad into a meal? Add sliced grilled chicken and you are all set.

Until my next post, 4 whatever it’s worth…..


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: