Sunday, April 5, 2015

Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing & Homemade Croutons



    [This recipe was my April column for The Hinton Voice, my local newspaper.]


Back when I still lived at home with my parents, whenever my family was invited to a potluck dinner, everyone always asked me to bring my famous Caesar salad.  They raved about the Caesar dressing, saying it was the best they had ever tasted by far.    Like any young girl trying to impress her family, I didn’t divulge the secret, nor did I have the heart to tell everyone, that the dressing they loved so much was actually available in the refrigerator section of the local grocery store.  They were right to love it - this dressing was the perfect combination of creamy, garlicy bliss.   As I started to branch out and learn how to make my own sauces and dressings from scratch, I knew that I would need to try and replicate this store bought version that everyone adored so much.  I’m happy to report, that this dressing not only matches its store-bought counterpart, it is even better (because isn’t everything that’s homemade 100 times better?).

While the most authentic version of Caesar dressings are created using olive oil based vinaigrettes made with raw eggs, this version uses real mayonnaise instead. While I enjoy a good Caesar salad made with a more traditional style dressing, my preference has always been a creamier version, loaded with lots of garlic, freshly ground pepper, and sharp Parmesan cheese.

The key ingredient behind the great taste of Caesar salad comes from the not-so-secret ingredient – anchovies!  While I don’t know that I’d be eating them as a topping on my pizza anytime soon, the depth that they add to sauces and dressings simply cannot be denied.  Even though you only use a little bit in this recipe, the anchovies add a whole other dimension of flavour.  Trust me, you’re not going to want to skip this crucial ingredient.

*** You can find anchovies locally in the refrigerator section of your favourite grocery store near the cheese and yogurt***

*** a package of 3 romaine hearts should feed 6 people ***


Recipe makes 2 cups
(1 x 500 ml mason jar)

Dressing

Ingredients
- 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 ½ tsp anchovy paste
- The juice from 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ½ cups real mayonnaise
- ¾ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper

Directions

In a medium bowl whisk together garlic, anchovy paste, lemon juice, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.

Fold in mayonnaise, cheese, and pepper.  Whip until well combined.

Store leftovers in a mason jar in the fridge.


Croutons

Ingredients
- 1 loaf French bread
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

Tear the bread into bite sized pieces and brush with melted butter and olive oil. Toss with salt and pepper, and spread out on a baking sheeting being careful not to overlap.

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, tossing occasionally to ensure even cooking.

- Nutritional Info (1 tbsp dressing) -
Calories – 83    Fat - 8    Carbs - 0     Protein - 1   Fibre -  1


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