We are having our good friends, Bud and Betty Rae, for dinner Friday night and caesar salad is on the menu. It has been a few months since I prepared my recipe for homemade croutons and caesar salad dressing as a caesar salad isn’t exactly a low-fat type salad. But these are special friends and I know they like caesar salad.
Caesar salad is also a family favorite and our three grandsons, Joshua, Aidan and Travis are always happy to see it on the table. I have good memories of seeing them sneak out the crunchy croutons and devouring them.
I have half a loaf of bread that is a little stale and it will be perfect for making croutons and actually is probably more cost effective than buying them ready-made. There isn’t much to making your own croutons, just cut or tear the bread into pieces, toss with olive oil and toast them in the oven until golden.
I know that traditional and original caesar salad dressing has raw or coddled eggs added as it is the fat in the eggs that adheres the dressing to the lettuce. I have an aversion to eating uncooked eggs and I substitute a couple egg yolk-size dollops of mayo and it does the same thing. Of course, I could use some of those Safe Eggs that are pasteurized but so far, I continue with the mayo. This is a creamy salad dressing with a little garlic, parmesan cheese and a nice tang from the lemon. I usually add a couple smashed anchovies to the dressing and it adds another layer of flavor but is not a ‘fishy’ flavor, it just blends in and improves the taste.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F
For the Croutons:
- 3-4 slices stale white or sourdough bread, cut or torn into 1-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
For the Caesar Salad Dressing:
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 medium anchovies, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard (hot dog type)
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2-3 tablespoons real mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
- 1/2-3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In a medium-size shallow bowl, add the garlic, anchovies and salt then, using a fork, mash them together to make a paste. Add the lemon juice, both mustards and the Worcestershire sauce whisking together to blend. Add in the olive oil, mayonnaise and parmesan cheese and pepper whisking until completely combined.