There are a few dishes that make people look at me funny when I try to convince them to cook them from scratch.
Sometimes these people have a very good point. Like when I made homemade tater tots
. Were they delicious? Definitely. Were they realistic to regularly make? Well, no.
But Caesar salads are something that most people can handle. And trust me: unless you've made it before or eaten in a restaurant that makes it from scratch, you've never tasted anything like homemade Caesar salad dressing.
While the dressing is definitely the star in a Caesar salad, I made some homemade croutons, blanched some asparagus, and grilled some salmon to make this salad a complete (and delicious) meal.
RECIPE: Salmon Caesar Salad
There are two ingredients that might turn some people off from homemade Caesar salad dressing: anchovies and coddled eggs.
For some reason anchovies gross people out, but they really shouldn't. Sure, they can be a bit overpowering on a pizza, but when they are processed together with the other ingredients, they just add a salty and savory flavor that's impossible to replace.
Coddled eggs are more of a technical problem for some people, but don't let them get you down. Basically all you need to do to coddle an egg is boil it for 5 minutes. Then run it under cold water and crack it open!
Scoop out all the barely cooked egg into your processor along with your other dressing ingredients. Process everything until it's a nice, smooth texture. This dressing is SUPER flavorful.
Let this chill in the fridge while you prep the other ingredients.
To prep the asparagus, cut the spears into thirds and add them to salted boiling water for about two minutes (three minutes if you have very large spears). When they are done, remove them from the water and add them to a bowl of ice water. This quick cooling will stop the cooking process and leave them bright green and slightly crunchy.
Meanwhile, you can make some homemade croutons with any leftover bread you have laying around. This is optional, but I love the crunchy texture in the salad. When I make croutons, I melt a few tablespoons of butter along with a clove of chopped garlic and then mix that up with my cubed bread.
Bake the croutons for about 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees until they are crunchy and slightly browned!
As a final touch, I added some grilled salmon to my salad. Again, all of these add-ins are optional. The salad is great with just greens and dressing and a bit of Parmesan cheese on top.
If you want to grill salmon though, drizzle both sides of your filet with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Then grill, skin side up first, over high heat for about 4 minutes per side.
When you're ready to put your salad together, chop the romaine lettuce roughly and add a few tablespoons of dressing to the lettuce. Toss this together in a bowl so the lettuce is evenly covered. Go light on the dressing—it's really flavorful. People can always add more later.
Then just top the lettuce with all the fixings and you're ready to go!
If you take away anything from this post, I highly encourage you to try the homemade Caesar dressing. You'll never go back to the bottled stuff. Promise!Nick wants you to remember that anchovies and sardines aren't the same thing. So don't mess that up. Also, check out his blog Macheesmo and his Tablespoon profile.