Caesar salad is light and refreshing as a starter or as the base for a fabulous main course. This classic Caesar recipe is easy to make at home and can be modified to suit nearly any taste. It uses anchovies and a raw pasteurized egg, both which are available at local supermarkets. Be sure to use either a pasteurized egg or egg substitute to guard against bacteria.
Classic Caesar Salad Recipe
This recipe makes four main course or eight appetizer servings.
Recipe by Patrick Mooney
- 1 large head of Romaine lettuce
- 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
- 3 anchovy filets
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 raw pasteurized egg
- 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup of freshly shaved or grated Parmesan cheese
- 12 ounces of garlic seasoned croutons
- Cut the stem end off the Romaine lettuce, including 1 inch of the head closest to the stem, and discard.
- Slice the head lengthwise approximately four times, and crosswise approximately six times, creating Romaine pieces about 1 inch square.
- Rinse the cut lettuce in a bowl of cold water; remove the lettuce and drain in a colander or spin in a salad spinner.
- Place the cleaned lettuce in a bowl and refrigerate.
- In a large serving bowl, place the anchovies, garlic, salt, and pepper and mash them together with the back of a spoon or a fork until a smooth paste develops.
- Add the egg and lemon juice; whisk until well blended.
- Slowly add the oil into the egg mixture in a thin steady stream while whisking.
- Add the Parmesan cheese and combine.
- Toss the lettuce with the dressing. Garnish with the croutons. Serve immediately.
Variations on the Classic Recipe
This versatile salad can be modified with a multitude of ingredients to create hearty protein-packed meals. Using an indoor grill or grill pan to cook the meat adds attractive marks, making the finished dish even more tantalizing.
How to Make Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
This recipe variation will make about four main dish servings.
- 1 Classic Caesar Salad (recipe above)
- 2 (6 ounce) boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup of bottled Italian salad dressing
- 1 quart-sized zip-top storage bag
- Place chicken breasts in zip-top bag. Add Italian salad dressing; close bag and massage dressing into the chicken. Refrigerate for 30 minutes so chicken can absorb flavors.
- Meanwhile, prepare salad greens and Caesar dressing in accordance with recipe instructions through Step 7.
- Preheat grill or grill pan according to manufacturer's instructions.
- Grill chicken pieces until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees in thickest part when measured with a meat thermometer.
- Remove chicken to a cutting board and cover lightly with a sheet of foil.
- Toss Parmesan cheese and lettuce with Caesar dressing; distribute salad on serving plates.
- Slice chicken and place on top of salad servings.
The classic recipe can be augmented with almost any leftover meat in your refrigerator, even turkey or ham from the deli. For more creative treatments, try one of the following ideas:
- Top salad with leftover rotisserie chicken, skin and bones removed, and sliced toasted almonds for a quick weeknight meal.
- Add drained canned tuna, thawed frozen green beans, and black olives for a Nicoise variation.
- Decorate with sliced roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts for a Mediterranean twist.
An Impressive Meal, Any Time
Once you become an expert at making the classic Caesar salad, you can amaze your family and dinner guests by preparing it tableside, the same way high-end restaurants do it. Nobody else needs to know how easy and inexpensive this delightful treat is.