Ultimate caesar salad
- May 2023
- Serves 2
- Hands-on time 25 min
Here it is: our best of the best caesar salad. Easy enough to whip up in minutes, tasty enough to ensure you never touch a bottle of gloopy ready-made caesar dressing ever again. Our ultimate caesar has few surprising extras to make this classic salad stand out…
Dial up the protein with our roast chicken caesar salad
- 63g (11g saturated)
- 21g (7g sugars)
- 1 shallot, finely sliced into rings
- 30ml red wine vinegar
- 30g caster sugar
- 30ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1½ tbsp
- 2 garlic cloves, 1 finely chopped and 1 roughly chopped
- 1 tsp thyme leaves
- 60g ciabatta
- 2 medium free-range eggs
- 12 anchovy fillets in oil, drained
- 1 medium free-range egg yolk
- 50ml vegetable oil
- 25g parmesan, finely grated, plus extra shavings to serve
- Juice ½ lemon
- 1 large romaine lettuce
- Heat the oven to 180°C fan/gas 6 and put a pan of water on to boil. Put the shallot rings in a small bowl and add the vinegar, sugar and 30ml water. Give them a good stir to help dissolve the sugar, then set aside.
- Put 1½ tbsp olive oil in a bowl, then add the finely chopped garlic clove and thyme leaves and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Tear the ciabatta into roughly 3cm chunks, add them to the oil and toss to coat. Lay out the bread on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes, tossing halfway through, until golden and crisp.
- While the croutons bake, gently lower the eggs into the boiling water and cook for 6½ minutes, then immediately drain and run under cold water to cool. Peel and set aside.
- To make the dressing, put 5 of the anchovies and the roughly chopped garlic clove in a pestle and mortar (or small blender) and mash into a paste. Stir in the egg yolk then, while whisking continuously or with the motor running, slowly add the vegetable oil and 30ml olive oil. If the mixture begins to split, add a splash of cold water. Stir in the grated parmesan, then mix in the lemon juice a little at a time, tasting as you go (you may not need all the lemon juice). Season with plenty of black pepper.
- Cut off the root of the romaine and separate the leaves. Keep the smallest ones whole, cut the medium ones in half and the largest ones into thirds or quarters. Wash and gently pat dry the leaves, then put them in a large bowl and pour over most of the dressing. Toss to combine, then transfer to a serving platter and top with the croutons, remaining anchovies and drained shallot rings. Halve the eggs, arrange them on top, then finish with some parmesan shavings, the remaining dressing and another good grinding of pepper.
How do you make the best caesar dressing?
A good caesar dressing should be salty, tangy, creamy and just thick enough to cling to the salad leaves. It's an egg-and-oil-based emulsion - like mayonnaise - but less likely to split thanks to anchovies and garlic, which help stabilise it.
Do you need specialist equipment to make caesar dressing?
It can be made by hand, involving lots of beating with a fork, but a small blender makes the job easier.
Which oil should you use in caesar dressing?
Use a mixture of a neutral oil like sunflower or vegetable with extra-virgin olive oil. Neutral oil on its own is boring; olive oil on its own can have a bitter finish. A mix of the two can create an appealing grassy flavour that doesn't overpower anything else.
Which lettuce to use in caesar salad?
Romaine lettuce (also known as cos) is the leaf of choice for good reason: the long, slender leaves have more flavour than iceberg and the crinkles hold the dressing better.
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