Caesar Salad is one of the great classic salads. Well-loved, you'll find Caesar Salad on almost every restaurant menu. But don't just enjoy them at a restaurant. A great Caesar can be made at home. Grab some Romaine lettuce and lets make a good and garlicky homemade Caesar salad. It's all about that dressing.
Start with fresh, crisp Romaine leaves, drizzle on a creamy, garlicky homemade dressing and add fresh baked croutons from a few pieces of leftover bread, add a few wisps of Parmesan curls and that’s about it.
I like to add corn kernels for a bit of a twist. Although not traditional, sometimes I’ll add other ingredients for color and visual appeal like a little finely chopped parsley, tiny diced red onion, even a few sliced grapeseed tomatoes. I think they make a traditional Caesar more interesting, but you can do as you please – goodies or not.
To make this an entree versus a side salad, add chicken or shrimp. Whether grilled, sautéed, roasted or broiled, either one is a great addition to the salad.
Great Caesar Dressing: Skip the Bottles
The best part of this garlicky Caesar salad is the dressing. Nothing out of a bottle please. Get your blender out and whip up your own to top your homemade Caesar salad. Once you do, you’ll never use bottled dressing again.
You can also make it by hand with a whisk and a little arm action. This dressing is thick, creamy, and garlicky so it clings nicely to crisp Romaine leaves. If it gets too thick, add a little water. For my Caesar dressing recipe read here.
Are Raw Egg Yolks Safe?
Generally raw egg yolks are safe, but there are people for whom they may not be be a good idea. Raw egg yolk makes Caesar dressing creamy as yolk emulsifies the dressing. As long as your eggs are crack-free and fresh and there are no egg problems in your area, you should have no problems with raw egg yolk.
The estimate is that 1 in 20,000 eggs has salmonella (so its rare). If you have immune-compromised family members eating this dressing, read here for precautions and more information. The other option is to use a pasteurized egg yolk.
This recipes makes enough for 4 servings at 2 tablespoons per person. I kept the batch small because of the raw egg yolk. For a larger crowd, it doubles easily. For any leftovers, use within two days to be safe.
Homemade Croutons for Caesar Salad
Once you’ve made homemade croutons you’ll never use boxed or bagged versions again. And it’s a great thing to do with those last few pieces of bread at the end of a loaf.
For crunchy, golden croutons, pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees. Using white or sourdough bread, trim off the crusts and cut the bread into approximately one inch cubes. I use one piece of bread for each person. Mix a little olive oil with granulated garlic in a bowl and toss the bread cubes with the oil-garlic mixture. You want them lightly coated, not soaked.
Pour the bread cubes onto a metal rimmed baking sheet and toast until the croutons are golden and crunchy. You will just start to smell the garlic when they ready. They will get more crunchy as they cool.
Set croutons aside for your salad and use after they have cooled as warm croutons will wilt your salad. These are so good everyone will wander into the kitchen and want to snack on them before you can get the salad made, and any extra keep well…if there are any.
For gluten-free, make them with GF bread.
Homemade Caesar Salad and Caesar Dressing
Caesar Dressing (yield approximately ¾ cup, enough for 4-6 people)
- 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 raw egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon anchovy paste in a tube optional
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce look for no HFCS, or more to taste
- ½ teaspoon Balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
- water to thin if needed
- 3-4 hearts of Romaine
- ¼ cup corn kernels
- 1 ½ tablespoons red onion chopped very fine
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped fine – for some color
- 8 grapeseed tomatoes halved
- ¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- homemade croutons
- 3-4 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds
Make the Dressing
- Place the lemon juice egg yolk, mustard, anchovy paste, garlic, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce in a blender and puree on lowest speed for a few seconds to blend.
- With the blender top on and the center top removed, slowly stream the oil into the blender until dressing is thick, creamy and emulsified. Add the Parmesan and pureed until creamy. If the dressing is too thick, add either a little more lemon juice or warm water to make it the consistency you prefer.
Make the Salad
- Wash and dry the Romaine. Serve either whole leaf or slice crosswise into thin ribbons. You ca also tear the leave into small pieces for easier eating. Drizzle with dressing adding any optional garnishes you choose.