There are strong opinions about how Caesar salad is done right. Most interesting to me is the suggestion to serve shaved parmesan cheese versus grated/shredded. The theory is that shaved parmesan lends more flavor (bigger piece of cheese/more taste). It’s a suggestion I’ve gotten into recently. There are actual cheese knives that work well to make shavings. If you didn’t have one, you can use a carrot peeler, which is what I did until I bought a parmesan shaving knife.
For croutons you simply must make your own. They are easy to make and taste so much better than store-bought. My favorite homemade crouton right now is whole-wheat made from torn up pieces of Dave’s Killer Bread. You will never waste bread again if you start making your own croutons.
I did a lot of research on Caesar salads this past winter and a lot of field testing of recipes. After making multiple batches of Caesar dressing, I believe I have the perfect dressing recipe down pat. It’s made with real egg and anchovy (paste). Anchovy is a must.
And, of course, lettuce isn’t really in question. A classic Caesar salad uses romaine lettuce though I’ve had an awesome Kale Caesar Salad too. You can cut or tear your romaine lettuce leaves or buy artisan leaves that are smaller in size (sold at Costco) and keep them whole.
Keeping the leaves whole is an easier option for preparing the salad and looks more artistic. (I thought it might be annoying to have to cut up whole leaves with a knife before eating my salad but it really wasn’t a big deal.) Do what you think is easier or what you prefer or whatever looks pretty to you.
Lastly, as you can see from the pictures, I like to add shredded carrots to my salad. I got into this when eating Kale Caesar salads. This is not an ingredient of a classic Caesar salad, however, so let me add as a disclaimer that I do not list shredded carrots in the ingredients list below.
- romaine lettuce
- Extra Lemony Caesar Dressing
- Homemade Croutons, for garnish
- Parmesan cheese, for garnish
- cracked black pepper, to taste
- Prepare your lettuce. If necessary, wash and rinse and chop or tear into bite sized pieces. Or use pre-washed, pre-cut romaine which makes it a lot easier.
- One recipe of Extra Lemony Caesar Dressing will dress 16 ounces of lettuce, in my experience, but it depends on how much dressing you like on your lettuce, I suppose. Toss the dressing, salad and croutons together in a bowl or shake it in a large gallon-sized ziploc bag.
- When ready to serve, divide the salad into bowls (fluff up with a fork if necessary) and top with some freshly grated or shaved parmesan cheese and some freshly cracked black pepper, if you’re so inclined.
You cannot have a Caesar Salad without shaved Parmesan. Fact.