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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Monday, January 9, 2012

To Do: Make Caesar Salad from Scratch

Around here, stores sell a very popular bottled Caesar salad dressing called "Renee's" that many people use exclusively.  I think there's a creamy version and a vinaigrette version. It tastes ok: parmesan and pepper flavour, mostly.  But have you ever made Caesar dressing from scratch?  It is a whole new world!

Of course it is a little more labour intensive than opening one jar, but it is so worth it! You'll need to get over any reservations you may have about raw eggs and anchovies. Just make sure your eggs are fresh. Anchovies are amazing flavour enhancers.  

Look at those anchovies!

And the egg yolk!

My inspiration is this recipe from Martha Stewart.  Here's what you need:

  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves 
  • 12 slices baguette (1/4 inch thick)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped 

For the croutons, rub a garlic clove over the baguette slices and brush them with olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile throw the rest of the ingredients (except oil and romaine) into a food processor or blender.  

Turn on the blender or processor and drizzle in the oil while it's running.  

Meanwhile toss the bacon with the romaine.  Drizzle the dressing over and toss to combine.  

I like to serve it with just a couple of whole toasted baguette slices, but you can break them up like traditional croutons if you prefer.  Or add a lemon slice and parmesan shavings.  Go crazy!

Not too difficult and so worth the effort!

Food lessons learned:
  • Watch those croutons! They will brown too much on the bottom if you're not careful
  • Crispy bacon is best. Feel free to cook extra at breakfast and save some for this
Photography lessons learned:
  • I wouldn't say I learned much here.  I know I want to have better lighting in these photos, but haven't figured out the trick yet


  1. To say it is worth the effort is an understatement. The difference between Renee's or any other store-bought dressing is the difference between beef tenderloin and a cafeteria hamburger. Real Ceasar was one of my favourite discoveries of 2011, thanks to the author, of course.

  2. I'm going to make this tomorrow for a pot luck. I'm doubling the recipe because I'm sure it will go fast.

  3. I have no idea why Google thinks my name is dirty martini, but I'm going to roll with it. I also go by Leila.