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Tangy Caesar Dressing

There are certain things I just cannot, will not, have delivered or leave the house to get. Salad is one of ’em. I mean…it’s a SALAD for Pete’s sake. I mean, a salad is like, hamster food with sauce, ain’t it?? The idea of satisfying that particular craving by putting on a bra and actually exiting my home is just too much. That being said, I do get legitimate cravings for a hearty, crisp. refreshing salad pretty frequently during the summer, and so I’ve had to figure out my own way of turning a pretty simple dish into something exciting and worth making.

In terms of salads, I think it’s easy to get caught in the weeds…literally. It’s easy to focus all of your attention on the greens – after all, they’re the base of your meal and make up the majority of the food on your plate when it comes to salad as a lunch or dinner. That being said…have you ever bitten into a hamburger with absolutely zero ketchup. mustard or secret sauce? What about a turkey dinner or a Sunday Roast with no gravy? It’s like…just kinda blah. Nothing special. The same is true for a salad. What you put on it is super important, whether it’s simple and understated or bold and flavorful. In this home cook’s opinion, that’s about a million times more true when the salad in question is a Caesar salad. After all, the only thing that makes a Caesar salad a Caesar salad is, in fact, the dressing.

So, as a personal sacrifice, I spent three full days perfecting batch after batch of Caesar dressing to find a version worthy of ‘main course’ status. Trust me, this recipe won’t let ya down. This tangy, umami, creamy, all around perfect version is begging to be used, all year round.

When it comes to this particular recipe, I’ve got a few extra notes:

1 – It’s called “Tangy” for a reason: I don’t like a ‘basic’ Caesar salad dressing. Call me ‘crazy,’ but I don’t want a pile of mayo dressed up with some black pepper and Parmesan cheese as a main component of my meal. I want some bite, some flavor, some salad-dressing-ness to be involved, ya know what I mean? To that end, this riff on Caesar dressing has red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and lemon juice involved. If yer not interested in tang, ya need not make this dressing. However, if you’re like me and still drink the juice out of the jar when you eat the last pickle, snag my recipe for Kalamata-Caper Relish, a vinegar-y, herb-y situation that I like to spoon over my Caesar salad right before serving. for a little extra kick.

2 – Chill. Your. Lettuce. I can’t emphasize enough how every little detail is important when it comes to a salad with literally three ingredients (romaine lettuce, croutons and dressing, in this case). Every texture and flavor is important. So. I implore you: chop your lettuce before you wanna eat, and put it in your serving bowl in the fridge for about 30 minutes. The lettuce will be ultra cold and refreshing, and will offset the rich dressing perfectly. I also advise chilling the dressing for a while before you dig in. This isn’t something you have to do, the dressing is good to go right away, but I’ve found that a batch of this stuff really does get better overnight, so I usually let mine hang out for at least 30 minutes while I cook the rest of my dinner. I don’t know how to describe it, but while it sits, it just gets more…Caesar-y.

3 – Fish are friends. Don’t be scared of anchovy paste. I know it doesn’t sound great, but odds are, any half-decent Caesar salad you’ve ever eaten has had the stuff. It’s probably the one ingredient I would identify as giving Caesar an unmistakably Caesar flavor. At the end of the day it’s not really fishy…it’s just earthy, salty, umami goodness. Trust me on this one.

Tangy Caesar Dressing

Course dinner, entree, lunch, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, French, Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword comfort food, diet food, dinner, dressing, entree, healthfood, healthy food, healthy snack, main course, main dish, marinade, salad
Prep Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Mayonnaise {the real deal – this is no place for miracle whip}
  • 3 tbsp Red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Anchovy paste
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1 large clove finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 + 1/8 cup Grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a small mixing bowl, except for the cheese (adding olive oil last), and stir to combine thoroughly.

  2. Once all ingredients are thoroughly combined, add the cheese, and stir until just incorporated. This will thicken the dressing and get it to a 'Caesar' consistency. If the dressing is too thick, add more olive oil.

  3. Chill for half an hour and serve over ice cold romaine lettuce. Garnish with croutons and additional shredded Parmesan cheese, as desired.

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