21 Club Caesar Salad [Recipe]

21 club caesar saladCaesar Salad recipe adapted from The “21” Cookbook (buy on Amazon)

Caesar dressing recipes are as ubiquitous as any.  Everyone has their way of doing it and many will debate the merits of one version over another.  For the record – I do fall in the pro anchovies camp.  I’ve sampled a wide number of Caesar Salad dressing recipes and time and time again, I come back to this one, courtesy of NYC’s famed “21” Club.  It’s relatively creamy, pronounced in flavor, and wildly addictive (if I do say so myself). 

I prepared this a few nights ago with one of my neighbors at our “Bevy of Babes” dinner.  Apparently, the way to get a bunch of beautiful women into the same room is through their stomachs … who’d have thunk it?  Though I made it the day of, I find that the dressing really does come together as it ages (24 hours).

And yes, I will take this time to thank everyone who dropped in.  To those many lovely ladies (and couple of cool dudes), thank you for letting me cook for you.  I find few things more enjoyable than preparing a meal for someone.  Each one of you made my night that much more enjoyable.

A special thanks to Papa Squat, my sous for the evening.  As any good chef will tell you, your food is only as good as your sous chef.  And with that – on with the cooking!


“21” Club Caesar Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 large cloves garlic (I often use more!)
  • 3 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4th cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup EVOO
  • 1 2oz can anchovy filets chopped
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Croutons (homemade preferred of course)

Production

As I mentioned above, I recommend making this a day in advance.  However, so long as you give it about 30 minutes in the refrigerator after you mix it, you should be fine.  Also, as the anchovies are not added until the last step so this works great as a vegetarian friendly recipe.

DRESSING

  1. Assemble your mise en place.  Slice your garlic and chop/dice your anchovy filets.
  2. Combine the eggs, garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce in a blender.  Give it a good whirl.
  3. Set your blender to a slow churn and turn on.  As it’s going, SLOWLY pour in your EVOO.  It’s critical that you don’t dump it all in at once AND that you are mixing at a slow speed.
  4. Drop in your chopped anchovies and pulse until the anchovies are integrated into the dressing.

SALAD

When making a Caesar salad, you should start with good, firm romaine lettuce.  I like to prep mine about an hour before service.  Wash it under cold water, tear it into pieces, and dry it using dish towels.  Layer it between your towels and place in the fridge.

All croutons, like all mayonnaise, should be homemade.  Being the shameful bastard that I am, I forgot to get ahold of some mildly stale bread and thus we shamed our guests into picking up some of the store bought variety.  Regardless, homemade croutons can be made up until two-weeks in advance.  So get ahold of some in whatever fashion you see fit.

Get yourself some good hard cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano are the preferred options here).  My sous grated it; however, shaved is also a great option.

That’s it.  Just put your lettuce and croutons in, ladle on some dressing and top with cheese.  That my friends, is one hell of a Caesar Salad.

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