I'm so proud of you for NOT passing by this recipe because of the title. 5 gold stars for you for being adventurous...or at least curious.
I know, who makes their own salad dressings with all the perfectly yummy options at the grocery? I don't, unless we're having Caesar then it's a yes, yes, yes to all these perfectly paired ingredients in this amazing recipe. There's absolutely no question in my mind that this is the BEST Caesar dressing I've ever had. In fact, I will make this proclamation right now....there will never again be store bought Caesar dressing in my refrigerator. ;)
The richness and depth of flavor is like "woah, yes please, I'll have some more". It's smooth, creamy, rich but never oily or greasy, it's taste bud dancing, get in my belly satisfying. And paired with warm, homemade, nooks and cranny, crunchy croutons... heck this could be a dip, forget the romaine! HA! :)
I hope to one day develop this type of goodness on my own but in the interim, this recipe came from epicurious.com and developed by Sue Le. (Gotta give credit where it's due!)
The Stuff You'll Need
6 anchovy fillets packed in oil (I enjoy the Trader Joe's brand)
1 small garlic clove
2 large egg yolks*
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (do not use the squeeze bottle)
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan (splurge and go for fresh grated, not the green can)
3 cups torn 1" pieces country bread (it's worth getting the fresh bread from the bakery dept)
3 romaine hearts
Freshly ground black pepper
1. The Dressing
Chop together 6 anchovy fillets (I actually use about 8!) packed in oil, 1 small garlic clove, and a pinch of kosher salt. Use the side of a knife blade to mash into a paste, then scrape into a medium bowl. Whisk in 2 large egg yolks*, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, and 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Adding drop by drop to start (this step is impt b/c you want it to emulsify, not separate), gradually whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil, then 1/2 cup vegetable oil; whisk until dressing is thick and glossy. Whisk in 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Can be made 1 day ahead.
2. The Croutons
Make your own (I urge you, please don't skip this step). Tearing, not cutting, the bread ensures nooks and crannies that catch the dressing and add texture. Toss 3 cups torn 1" pieces country bread with 3 tablespoons olive oil on a baking sheet; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake at 375°F, tossing occasionally, until golden, 10-15 minutes.
3. The Lettuce
Use whole leaves from 3 romaine hearts to feed 6 people. They provide the ideal mix of crispness, surface area, and structure.
4. The Cheese
Use a vegetable peeler to thinly shave a modest amount on top for little salty bursts. Don't over do-it, more is not better in this application.
5. The Assembly
Skip the tongs. Use your hands to gently toss the lettuce, croutons, and dressing, then top off with the shaved Parm.
*Raw egg is not recommended for infants, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems.