Caesar salad and I have a kind of love, hate relationship.
Up until just a few years ago, I was more of a french or bleu cheese dressing type of gal. I thought caesar salads were quite boring actually. At least with a house salad you get tomatoes, maybe some cheese, a few shreds of carrot, and on a good day, a crouton or two. Caesar salads are always the same; romaine, which has no flavor whatsoever, dressing, parmesan cheese if you are at a reputable place.
But then I got pregnant.
I know. Not the statement you were expecting, eh? But nevertheless, there I was. Pregnant and sick and tired and not hungry. And for reasons still unknown, I found myself at a deli and ordering a chicken caesar salad wrap for the first time in my life. And it tasted amazing. It was cold and crunchy and tangy and salty and…ghah. After that day, I never looked back. There are some great places with some pretty fantastic salads out there, and I now know which ones to skip, and which ones to order every chance I get.
Now, though not pregnant :), I find myself craving that same salad love at home. But I so rarely purchase bottled salad dressings anymore, I started messing with my own version of caesar dressing. And believe you me! It was quite a process! Too much anchovy, too much garlic, not enough vinegar, too thin-sheesh. But I finally nailed it. Ha! And then I had to go and make it one more time to make sure that I could actually follow all my notes and scribblings and produce a solid recipe! Now, I plan to enjoy the fruits of my labor with all the fresh greens coming out of the Farmer’s Markets. I am quite particular about salads in general and almost always eat my caesar salads the same: romaine (because its traditional), hard-boiled eggs, grilled chicken, and parmesan cheese. I also like to make what I call a ‘loaded caesar salad’ but that is a recipe for another day! And remember when I said that I had a favorite way to eat that Honey-Lemon Grilled Chicken in the last post? Well, voila!
Do not be afraid of the anchovy paste in this recipe! If you have ever purchased it, you can usually find it by the tuna and canned meats at your grocery store and it comes in a little tube. It lasts in your fridge for forEVER and it is not a big deal so just be brave and pick some up! The flavor is unbeatable and it is amazing in so many things! You never know its in there, but you miss it if you don’t use it! Be sure to use it in this recipe too! I prefer to use mayo in place of the egg yolk used in a traditional caesar recipe, but only for the sake of convenience. Feel free to go old school.
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp anchovy paste
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 heaping T mayo
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1 T honey, optional
salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients in a blender or mini food processor. Taste for seasoning, but be careful with the salt. Chill. The dressing will thicken up and become creamy when it is cold, but is more pourable when freshly made! Serve over fresh romaine with hard boiled eggs and Honey-Lemon Grilled Chicken. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.