Once while traveling on a business trip, my father was invited to a potluck. He called home to brainstorm about what to bring and my mother suggested the recipe below. At the potluck, my father’s salad was recognized as the best contribution to the communal dinner and he now describes this as an “award winning” recipe. Caesar Salad has always been a popular dish in our household, and the original scrap of paper that Dad recorded the recipe on is now so well-used and saturated with oil that it is barely legible.
The following instructions produce a mild take on the tangy dressing served up in restaurants today. Be sure to start early enough so the garlic has sufficient time to flavor the oil. If you have concerns about using raw eggs, you can use a pasteurized egg, or you can coddle the egg by immersing it in boiling water for 1 minute before whisking it in with the other seasonings.
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- ¼ C olive oil
- 1 C French bread, cubed
- 5 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and mashed to a paste
- ¼ t dry mustard
- a few drops of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 T red wine vinegar
- 1 egg
- juice from one lemon
- 2 large heads of Romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 3-4 T freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Add the garlic to the oil and let the mixture steep overnight, or for at least a couple of hours.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Sprinkle the bread with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the cubes evenly on a baking sheet and bake, shaking the pan once or twice, until golden brown, 12-15 minutes.
In a very large bowl whisk together the anchovy, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, egg and lemon juice. Remove the garlic from the oil and discard. Add the oil to the seasonings in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Toss the lettuce with the dressing.
Transfer the salad to a serving bowl or to individual plates. Top with the croutons and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.