The best Caesar dressing I’ve ever had was at the Culinary Institute of America’s Escoffier Room restaurant, made tableside by a young, confident woman a month from graduating. Lemon juice, minced anchovy (just enough to season the salad), minced garlic, all enriched with an egg yolk. That’s the easy part. The critical point in the excellence of a Caesar salad is the quality of the romaine lettuce. Try to find the freshest, crispest romaine available. Use the hearts of romaine only, and make sure they are cold. And finally, the better the croutons, the better the Caesar. A salad with so few components requires that each of those components—greens, dressing, croutons—be excellent.
Wash the romaine leaves, shake off the excess water, and put them in a paper towel–lined bowl, uncovered, in the refrigerator.
In a large wooden bowl, combine the anchovy and garlic and mash it together with a fork. Pour the lemon juice over, add a pinch of salt, and let it sit for a minute or two. Add the Dijon and egg yolks and mix them in with the fork.
Combine the vegetable and olive oils in a measuring cup with a spout. Add one or two drops of oil to the bowl and mix that tiny bit in thoroughly. Then, whisking rapidly and continually with the fork, add the remaining oil in a thin, steady stream until you have a creamy dressing. Taste and adjust with more lemon or salt as you wish.
Tear the romaine leaves into large bite-size pieces and add them to the bowl. Toss to coat them with the dressing. Crack pepper generously over the salad. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano. Top with croutons and serve immediately.
© 2019 All rights reserved. Published by Abrams Books.