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~ Creamy, Garlicy & Peppery Caesar-Style Dressing ~

IMG_9767I've heard it said that a restaurant is only as good as its Caesar salad and a Caesar salad is only as good as its dressing.  A few decades ago, back in the 1970's, '80's and '90's, when people still had an appreciation for the snobbery of an elegant restaurant, that was true, and no one enjoyed the fanfare of watching a black-tied waiter prepare my Caesar salad, to my liking, at tableside, more than me.  If a Caesar salad was on a restaurant menu, I ordered it.  Nowadays -- not so much.  In our present-day Olive Garden, Carrabba's atmosphere, I'm betting most folks wouldn't know a good Caesar salad from a bad one if they got hit on the head with an olive wood bowl.

The Caesar salad, was invented on July 4th, 1924, by Caesar Cardini, an Italian-born Mexican immigrant & co-owner of a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, who resided in San Diego. 

CCardiniCardini concocted his now iconic salad late in the day on the Fourth of July, for some Hollywood celebrities, after the holiday crowd had depleted his kitchen of many ingredients.  The original and easy-to-make dressing contained just six ingredients:  garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire and Parmesan -- it did not contain anchovies, getting its slight anchovy flavor from the anchovies in the Worcestershire.  When it comes to making Caesar dressing, I play by the rules, bending them by adjusting the quantities to suit my own taste.  I want my dressing garlicy, peppery, and creamy, and, I want it to get creamy by using the traditional raw egg.  I want it slightly sweet and savory too, and, while I don't want to see anchovies, I want to taste their tang.  As for the Parmesan -- I omit it from the dressing, choosing instead to use a copious amount to garnish my salad.

IMG_9707While store-bought dressing is a time saving ingredient, and, "hoaky-smokes Bullwinkle", there is a wide selection to choose from (and that includes the trademarked Cardini's brand, which is named after Caesar Cardini), when it comes to making this iconic salad, I don't take shortcuts -- and I'll put my dressing up against any of the bottle brands out there.  That said, I won't call the food police if you choose to use one, but, if you do, do not be afraid to "doctor it up a bit" to suit yourself.

IMG_96861  2-ounce can anchovy fillets (preferably rolled w/capers), well-drained

1/4  cup Dijon mustard

2  tablespoons red wine vinegar

1  tablespoon each:  garlic paste, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, sugar

1/2  teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

2  large eggs, at room temperature

1/2  cup extra-virgin olive oil

IMG_9691 IMG_9691 IMG_9691 IMG_9691~Step 1.  Place all the ingredients, except olive oil, in work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  Put the lid on, turn the motor on, and process for a full 30 seconds.  With the motor running, add the olive oil, in a thin, slow, steady stream, through the feed tube into the dressing. Transfer to a 1 1/2-2-cup size container, cover tightly and refrigerate one hour prior to using (to allow flavors time to marry), and, keep it stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Try my Italian-seasoned Caesar-style croutons w/my dressing:

IMG_9742Use them both on my house-special gem Ceasar-style-salad:

IMG_9864Creamy, Galicky & Peppery Caesar-Style Dressing:  Recipe yields 1 1/2 cups.

Special Equipment List:  food processor; 2-cup food-storage container w/tight fitting lid

6a0120a8551282970b019aff58cbc0970dCook's Note:  Similar to the Caesar salad in that it is only as good as its dressing,  ~ My Big Fat Greek Lemon-y-Garlic Salad ~, is one of my favorite salad combinations.  Full of briny olives and feta, it's particularly good with grilled or poached seafood (crabmeat, lobster, shrimp and/or scallops) added to it.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2018)


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