I love a good starter salad when eating out at a restaurant. Particularly I love a good caesar salad. There’s something about the simplicity of it (normally just romaine lettuce, croutons, dressing and maybe some cheese) that speaks to my inner soul. Yet oddly I’ve never even really contemplated making a Caesar salad (from scratch) at home. I’ve done it dozens of times using some Ken’s dressing (I like to use a mixture of the Creamy Caesar dressing and the Lite Caesar dressing) but never, ever have I had any desire to make a homemade Caesar dressing. Until now.
There’s this great little Italian restaurant in Northwest Portland called Justa Pasta that I try to go to whenever I visit Portland. On a recent trip to Portland, we stopped there for a celebratory/goodbye dinner (to pay tribute to the dogs we rescued in 2011 who would have turned 20 this year/month were they still alive) and decided to try a Kale Caesar Salad. We normally order the regular ‘ole Caesar salad as a starter, which is fabulous by the way. But on a whim we went with the kale, which is funny because neither Sis nor I really love kale. But this salad, boy oh boy, it was amazing. So amazing that we needed to recreate the salad at home. Starting with a zippy Caesar dressing.
I researched a lot before settling for a recipe located at the TOBASCO® website as my base. My recipe is gently adapted. The Justa Pasta menu describes their caesar salad as “extra lemony” which I didn’t realize until after I had made the dressing. However, I have made this recipe several times and do believe that I have it pretty perfect by now.
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 heaping tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 to 3 garlic cloves (depending on your taste for garlic; I use 3)
- 1 heaping tsp. anchovy paste
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
- ½ lemon, juiced (large)
- zest of two large lemons (I used Meyer lemons)
- pinch of black pepper
- 2 shakes of cayenne pepper
- 2 pinches of garlic salt (optional) or salt to taste
- ½ c. blended oil (half olive oil/half canola oil or your favorite blend)
- ¼ c. parmesan cheese, grated
- In a food processor, combine all ingredients except the blended oil and parmesan cheese.
- Blend the ingredients until they are combined and smooth, about one minute.
- Keep the food processor going and slowly add in half the oil to emulsify the dressing. Stop the machine after half of the oil has been added to make sure the mixture is thickening. Continue adding in the rest of the oil until the dressing has thickened.
- Add in grated parmesan cheese and stir to combine.
- Alternatively you can make this dressing in a jar wide enough to fit an immersion blender. Bring the immersion blender up as you’re adding the oil and then stir in the parmesan cheese.
- Taste the dressing for seasoning; adjust by adding salt, additional cayenne pepper or black pepper, etc..
- This recipe yields just over 3/4 cups of dressing.
I didn’t include the lemon zest in my dressing because I didn’t realize I was supposed to be making it extra lemony. But Sis and I reasoned that adding the zest of the lemon would do the extra lemony trick. I will be adding it the next time I make this recipe and there will definitely be a next time!