Anyone can be "the family chef". You just need good recipes and techniques! Chef Amy Fothergill shares her best recipes with you for quick and easy dishes with an emphasis on gluten-free.

Get information here about her cookbook, The Warm Kitchen: Gluten-Free Recipes Anyone Can Make and Everyone Will Love.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Easy Caesar Salad Dressing recipe

When I went to culinary school, I remember when we learned how to make Caesar salad table-side. It was always delicious, but the raw egg in the dressing always bothered me, especially after taking the Food Sanitation course. Salmonella is scary!

Some recipes call for coddled or partially cooked eggs. Sure, you might kill some of the bacteria but it also seemed like a lot of effort. Another food sanitation revelation was that commercial mayonnaise is not a bacterial culprit; fresh mayo is another story since it's made with raw eggs. Commercial mayonnaise uses pasteurized eggs and plenty of vinegar; acid is an inhibitor to bacteria. So, although your grandmother may have told you anything with mayo can make you sick, in today's times, it's actually closer to the opposite.

So, instead of using raw or even partially cooked eggs in my Caesar dressing, I started using mayo. It gives the dressing a wonderful creaminess and is "safer" than raw eggs. It's also super easy if you have a mini-food processor; if you don't, just mince the garlic finely and whip ingredients with a whisk.

My family loves creamy dressing, especially this one which is fresh and bright. Don't make the assumption that I did which was that kids won't eat salad. My children constantly surprise me with what they will and won't eat. I just keep trying.

If you think your children won't eat salad, one of the best bits of advice is getting them involved in the process. Let them help pour in the ingredients and after you carefully put the top on, let them press the button. Worry less about the mess and more about the fun and learning that is happening. Get a big bowl with a salad fork and spoon, toss in some lettuce, some dressing and let your kids do the rest. I hope you enjoy this one.

Fresh and Easy Caesar Salad Dressing
Makes 1 cup or about 8-10 servings

1-2 garlic cloves
1/2 c regular mayonnaise
1/4 c grated parmesan (or any hard Italian cheese like Romano)
2 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp Kosher salt or 1/2 tsp table salt
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Place all ingredients in a small food processor and blend for 1-2 minutes being careful not to overprocess; the mayo can "break". Keep refrigerated until ready to use. Toss with crisp, romaine lettuce pieces and shredded carrots (optional). Skip the croutons unless you have them in the pantry.

This dressing keeps for a few weeks in the fridge.


Sandra D. said...

Hi Amy,
I make a variation of this recipe with lower fat mayonnaise (NOT non fat) and the addition of a couple of squeezes of anchovy paste. This gives the dressing a really authentic Caesar flavor. Also, freshly ground cracked pepper is a must and parmesan shavings on top.

The Family Chef said...

Sandra D, great suggestion! I thought the anchovies would be too strong for my family so I leave out.

This is definitely a top recipe in my repertoire. Enjoy!

Andi said...

This was excellent and so easy. I wish I could sub half of the mayo. Any ideas?

The Family Chef said...

Hi Andi,
Yes, of course! Substitute olive oil for the other half of the mayo. There's also a soy mayo called Veganese which I like when subbing the eggs. Let me know how it comes out.

Unknown said...

hi, how much dressing does this recipe make? About a cup?

The Family Chef said...

I just updated the post. Yes, 1 cup. It makes about 8-10 servings. You can save leftovers in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm making this for my dad but we dont have lemon juice! Is there anything I can replace it with?

The Family Chef said...

I hope I get this to you in can try adding white vinegar in place of the lemon juice to give it some acidity. Hope you are able to try it.

Anonymous said...

Can you do this is something besides a food processor?

The Family Chef said...

If you don't have a food processor, you can use a blender. If you don't have a blender, mince the garlic finely. Add all ingredients except the oil. Add that in a steady stream while whisking to make sure it emulsifies (becomes incorporated). If you place a wet kitchen towel on the counter and the bowl on top of that, you shouldn't have to hold the bowl. Hope that helps!

Theresa said...

I came home last night after a Looong day to find my 12 year old had made me a caesar salad using your dressing . It was Fantastic! and much appreciated. Thanks for sharing. Theresa

The Family Chef said...

Thank you Theresa! That is one of the nicest compliments. Check out my other easy recipes and stay in touch. I'm on facebook and twitter.

Anonymous said...

Hi, would really love to try your recipe but I was confused about not adding the oil. I didn't have any food processor or blender. Would it not ruin the taste? I mean olive oil is really good on salad.

The Family Chef said...

Sorry about the confusion with the non-blender version. Let me break down the steps. 1) Mince the garlic finely. In a small to medium bowl, add all ingredients except the oil.
2)Place a wet kitchen towel on the counter and the bowl on top of that so you don't have to hold the bowl.
3) Add the oil in a steady stream while whisking the mixture in the bowl to make sure it emulsifies (becomes incorporated).
4) Serve.

Anonymous said...

Going to try it tonight in a wet cold ireland... summer in the kitchen tonight :p

The Family Chef said...

If you have some grilled chicken, that would go well to make it a complete meal. Stay warm!

Zuzu's Blog said...

thanks for this. am making my first ever chicken Caesar salad as we speak (metaphorically)

can I ask a question.. you mentioned not wanting to use raw egg but instead substituted more mayo... I make my on mayo and its made with raw egg and olive oil so am wondering what is the difference?
I am following your recipe either way lol. just curious at to the reasoning in case its something i need to know :)

The Family Chef said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Family Chef said...

Hi Zuzu. I personally don't use raw eggs in recipes (with a few exceptions) because of the chance of there being bacteria, especially salmonella, which is killed when the egg is cooked. When you eat raw or uncooked eggs, there is a risk. Salmonella can be very nasty, especially for the elderly and young. I make this recipe quite often for my children so I want it to be safe.

Most people use store-bought mayo which uses pasteurized eggs and such high counts of acid and salt, bacterial growth is inhibited. I feel this is a safer option without compromising the taste.

Hopefully that answered your question.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this! I have just recently discovered how simple and delicious making my own salad dressing is. Our family just loved this one!

The Family Chef said...

Thank you "Anonymous"! It's always nice to receive good feedback. You can subscribe to The Family Chef blog posts via email. Don't worry...I don't post very often ;-)

Unknown said...

I just used this dressing in the crockpot with chicken and let it cook on low for 4-6hrs and it is amazing!

Anonymous said...

Where is the recipe?

The Family Chef said...

Anonymous, just scroll down past the story. It's toward the bottom.

Fatima said...

Let me tell you I was IN SHOCK when I this dressing as I have never expected something homemade to taste this good! I added about 1 tbsp of yellow mustard and made half this recipe, mmmm delicious!!