The big secrets to a Caesar salad that pops are really good fresh, crisp romaine, anchovies, and properly emulsified dressing. The other ingredients are important too… but those three are where most people take shortcuts that impact the result.
A great accompaniment to a special meal.
Or it can be a meal in itself! Feel free to include wild meat, provided it is naturally tender or If using a preparation that produces a tender result. Venison tenderloin, or braised gamebird breast for instance.
Combine yolks, mustard, anchovies, garlic (chopped a bit first), Worcestershire, lemon juice and zest, and half the parmesan in a container that just fits the head of an immersion blender, or in the bottom of the mini-chopper attachment of a food processor.
With blender running, slowly drizzle in first olive oil then vegetable oil to form a smooth emulsion.
Transfer mixture to a small bowl.
Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Move to fridge. Use same day.
Rinse romaine leaves in cold water. Soak a few minutes if they are not already super crisp. Blot dry, roll up in paper towels and store in the fridge about an hour.
The remaining steps go quickly and should be performed just before serving. Caesar Salad does not "rest" well:
Tear the romaine into the bowl by hand. Extra points if you use a wooden bowl and wipe the interior with a cut garlic clove first.
Pour dressing over the romaine and toss.
Add paprika and remaining parmesan. Toss well.
To taste, add coarse grind black pepper, a few dashes of tabasco, salt and lemon juice. Quick Toss.
Add croutons, Quick toss,
Add optional meat. Some prefer it warm, some chilled. Either toss in bowl, or arrange on top of plated salad.
Optional: Shave some solid parmesan on top. You don't really need more parmesan flavor but it looks fancy as hell.
Optional: If you have anchovy filets left over, serve them on the side. None for me, thanks.
Serve immediately. Have a pepper grinder and an ice cold bottle of a crisp white wine close at hand.
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