I’ve been on a recent obsession with classic caesar salads with anchovies and all. I know some would turn their noses to anchovies, but I love those little suckers. Salty and fishy. Yum. It’s the anchovies that make the caesar salad dressing. Not the shaved parmesan. Not the croutons. It’s the anchovies. I think it’s blasphemy to call a caesar salad dressing when the little fishies are omitted. I just doesn’t taste the same. Caesar salads are nostalgic to me. It reminds me of our days living in the Parnassus library at the UCSF campus studying pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmacology, and pharmcotherapeutics. We would be the first ones there and the last ones to close down the library. And like any library, we weren’t allowed to eat there (at least not to their knowledge). We definitely had our fair share of Pringles chips, coca-cola flavored gummies, boba tea, sodas, coffee, chocolate, chips, and more. When we were finally craving real food , we walked down to Pluto’s on Irving and 8th Avenue, and I always ordered the steak caesar salad. The steak was over cooked and tough, but the dressing. Wow. And when the croutons soaked up all the dressing at the bottom. Oh em gee.
Classic Caesar Salad with Steak
1 teaspoon garlic, smashed into a paste
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
6 anchovy fillets, mashed into a paste with fork
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 large raw or coddled egg yolks
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 romaine hearts, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices, rinsed, and dried very well
If you can’t stomach the raw egg component of this recipe, try making a coddled egg, which essentially is an egg cooked briefly in boiling water. The taste of coddled egg yolks is similar to that of a raw egg. It’s just not as raw as a raw egg To make a coddled egg, place whole eggs into a pan of boiling water and simmer for 1 minute. Crack eggs and separate whites from yolks.
Mince the garlic, and then sprinkle a little salt over the minced garlic on your cutting board. With your chef’s knife in hand, press and crush the garlic with the knife on an angle. The salt draws out the liquid from the garlic, but also acts as an abrasive to mash the garlic into a paste. Continue this until a paste is formed.
Finely chop or mince the anchovy filets. Mash the anchovies into a fine paste using the back of a fork. Continue doing this until you have a smooth anchovy paste to work with.
In a large bowl, whisk together garlic paste, anchovy paste, and lemon juice. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Whisk in Worcestershire, dijon mustard, and egg yolks. In a slow, steady stream, whisk in the extra virgin olive oil until the dressing has completely emulsified. Add 1/2 cup of Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste, then whisk until completely combined.
To serve, plate the romaine lettuce and croutons. Drizzle dressing overtop each serving, then sprinkle liberally with Parmigiano-Reggiano.