Joy the Baker

The Perfect Caesar Salad

January 14, 2009

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Sometimes what I need from the world manifests itself in the strangest ways.

Truth be told, I think I might need a hug. I know… that phrase has tinges of lame and needy all over it. I could easily go find a hug, that’s not the issue. I’m looking for a very specific hug.

I need to kind of hug that I imagine comes from the husband I don’t yet have. The kind of hug that you can completely relax into. The kind of hug where you are exactly who you are without any self conscious discomfort. The kind of hug that I imagine comes with familiar husband neck smells, synchronized breathing, and maybe a whisper in the ear. The kind of hug that softens everything in the world- that’s the kind of hug I need.

Since I don’t exactly have that soul changing hug at my everyday disposal, I decided to take to get in my kitchen and make myself exactly what my soul wanted to eat. Ironically enough, my soul didn’t wax on about chocolate, or pudding or fresh doughnuts. All my insides wanted was a big, fresh, home-crafted Caesar Salad.

Funny how that works.

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If you’ve never made a homemade Caesar Salad, consider this your formal invitation. There is something unbelievably satisfying about grinding garlic and anchovies into a paste, then working the dressing into the most luscious salad topper with egg yolks and olive oil. It’s lovely. It feels like the salt of the earth, like I imagine those husband hugs.

Oh! This salad is perfect with homemade pizza. Now that’s good lovin’.

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The Perfect Caesar Salad

from Martha Stewart

Print this Recipe!

If you don’t like the idea of using egg yolks for this dressing, feel free to substitute one tablespoon of mayonnaise. Don’t skip out on the anchovies as much as you think you might dislike them. They add so much flavor and depth, you’ll miss if you leave them out. I skipped the fresh croutons, mostly because I didn’t have any bread on hand. I’ve included the crouton portion of your recipe for your tummy. Enjoy!

  • 6 slices (1-inch) ciabatta or another crusty white bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
  • Coarse salt (to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, halved
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 to 5 anchovies
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, washed and dried thoroughly and torn into 2-inch pieces
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (to taste)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-size bowl, toss bread cubes with remaining crouton ingredients. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, toast croutons until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. In a large wooden bowl, using a wooden spoon, mash halved garlic cloves to a fine paste. Stir in egg yolks and Dijon mustard. Add anchovies, and grind to a paste. Add lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Slowly stir in olive oil until dressing is creamy
  3. Add lettuce to bowl, and toss to coat leaves thoroughly with dressing and grated Parmesan. Sprinkle croutons over salad, and serve topped with Parmesan shavings.

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66 Comments Add A Comment

  • I just loved your salad and your description of a husband hug. Don’t fret that you don’t have a husband, yet. Let him find you. In the mean time enjoy yourself in all that you do.

  • Oh. Honey. I am sending you a virtual *squishy, all encompassing, come let mama hold you tight” HUG right now. There…it’s not a husband hug by any stretch of the imagination, but I hope it helps in the interim while that future husband of yours finds his way to you – perhaps he is stuck INSIDE a coffee shop while you fly on by on your great doughnut hunt. Some day you will meet, and share coffee and doughnuts and realize that you’re meant for each other. Yes. Sounds like a novel idea. And your caesar sounds soooooo…oooh…yum. mmm. Thank you!!

  • Oh… your salad looks perfect….and I wish you those hugs you desire…
    They will come…don’t you worry…they will come…and they will be delicious when they do…

  • la vie est belle January 14, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    I didn’t think I was taking those hugs for granted but I’ll make sure I appreciate as much as I should.

  • Awww! My hubby has been sick for the last week so I haven’t had that kind of hug and I’m seriously missing it. Leaving for work without it can make your whole day sour. You will find your hug some day, I just know it!

  • You should rename this recipe “romaine salad with soul-changing-hug-dressing” sounds so much more irresistible than Ceasar. I love it when you give us story + recipe.

  • Now that I buy my eggs directly from a farmer/friend I feel ok making recipes like this. I’ll have to try it. I too fear anchovies, but I suspect my favorite green beans at a Chinese place are cooked with them or something like them.

  • That looks so good and the photos in your side bar are making my mouth water! I’m going to be brave and try this soon. I love Caesar Salad…but I’m scared of anchovies. I’ll get over it and make it anyway!

    P.S. Now I want a hug!

  • Husband hugs are grand, makes me miss mine even more, thanks for your lovely description! Speaking of hubbies, mine will love this salad! I plan on making it when he returns from deployment! Thanks, Joy!

  • This looks yummy :) I want you to know that I made your Lemon drenched lemon cakes, and oh my goodness are they delicious!! I had to give one away for fear that I would eat them both by myself!! :D

  • *sigh* What an amazing description of a hug. I thought I was the only one who longed for husband hugs. Someday… :)

  • omg..I ABSOLUTELY LOOOVE CEASAR SALAD!

  • I don’t really have much to say about the salad, though it does look great, I just had to comment on your hug. Thank you for writing that! That’s exactly the kind of hug I need, and I have never been able to put it into words half as eloquently as you have. I hope you find your hug-giver soon.

  • Nothing better than a homemade caesar. I hope you find your soul mate soon – those hugs are the best. I can’t tell you enough how much I love your blog!!

  • No, we definitely want the egg yolks. Definitely. There is something about homemade dressings that make you want to toss out all of those bottles in the fridge. But a fresh caesar must be over the top!

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