Made with anchovies, garlic, egg yolks, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, olive oil, palm oil and lemon juice, homemade Caesar salad dressing is rich in flavors! Tastier than any of the bottled stuff you get from the grocery.
And you know what? You don’t need any fancy kitchen equipment to make Caesar salad dressing. Just a wire whisk, a sturdy bowl and plenty of arm power. You’re going to make an emulsion — like mayonnaise — with the egg yolks and oil. So, you will have to whisk fast for about five minutes to achieve the correct consistency.
Why didn’t I just make the dressing in the food processor or blender? Well, because this is an updated recipe. It was originally published in October of 2005 when I owned neither a blender nor a food processor. It was so straightforward that just about anyone who can mix can make the dressing by following the recipe. I don’t want to turn the updated version into something that only people who own blenders or food processors can make.
And there’s a second reason which is probably more significant. Washing every component of the blender or food processor requires more energy than using a whisk and doing the mixing by hand. I would have ended up more tired and harassed had I chosen to use either.
What would have been really smart was to use an immersion blender. But I keep forgetting that we have two. And I had already cropped and watermarked the photos before I remembered. So, never mind. Not everyone owns an immersion blender anyway. I figure that a Caesar salad dressing made with just a wire whisk and a bowl will be useful for more readers.
You don’t own a wire whisk? A fork will work. But your arm will have to work twice as hard.
So, let’s make Caesar salad dressing.
Start by anchoring your bowl. You will need both hands to do mix the dressing. Both hands at the same time. You can’t use one hand to hold the bowl. Since the mixing will likely cause the bowl to slide and move around on the work surface and you can’t hold it, you need to put something under it to make sure that it doesn’t dance around. A kitchen towel or something similar is all you need. Form into a coil and place underneath the bowl.
The ingredients that go into the bowl first are the anchovies, garlic, egg yolks, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
The traditional first step is to first mash the anchovies, garlic and salt to make a paste. There is a short cut. To make life simpler, grate the garlic. Then, just use a fork to mash the anchovies and salt against the side of the mixing bowl. Then, add the pepper, egg yolks and mustard and whisk until creamy.
You then take your oil. With one hand, start adding it into the ingredients in the bowl while whisking with the other hand. Drop by drop at first and then in a drizzle. And drizzle means drizzle. Slowly. In a thin stream. If you pour too fast, the mixture will not emulsify.
If you do the pouring and whisking properly, you will have an emulsion after drizzling in about two tablespoons of oil. At that point, you can pour a little faster. Just keep on whisking as you pour.
So, the left photo above shows the emulsion. You are now going to stir in the lemon juice to thin it out a bit and to balance the flavors. You may also add more salt or pepper, or both, after the lemon juice has been blended it.
And that’s all there is to making Caesar salad dressing.
- 2 to 3 anchovies
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and finely grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup palm oil (see notes after the recipe)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Place the anchovies, garlic and salt in a mixing bowl. Mash with a fork to make a paste.
- To the mashed anchovies and garlic, add the pepper, egg yolks and Dijon mustard.
- Using a wire whisk, mix everything together until creamy in texture.
- With one hand, drizzle in the olive oil, drop by drop at first, while whisking with the other hand to form an emulsion.
- Once your mixture is thick, pour the palm oil in a slow thin stream while continuing to whisk.
- Add the lemon juice and stir until well blended.
- Taste the dressing. Add more salt, pepper or lemon juice, as needed. You don't want it to be too tangy. You're aiming for creamy and a bit salty with a subtle but unmistakable tang.
- Use your Caesar salad dressing on any vegetable salad. It's isn't just for Caesar salad, really. It's good for all kinds of vegetable salad.