Sunday, July 17, 2011

Caesar Salad with Homemade Dressing

As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing quite like a Caesar salad to make a meal complete! Nothing beats a Caesar salad with fresh romaine (not bagged), homemade dressing, freshly shredded parmesan cheese, and a few anchovies. The few extra steps it takes to cut and wash your own Romaine lettuce and make your own dressing are well worth the effort. Homemade salad dressing beats bottled salad dressing any day of the week and the health benefits are well worth the extra bit of effort.  Homemade trumps because bottled dressings are almost always made with cheap, low-quality oils that have been stripped of their nutrients and rendered rancid by high-temperature processing. In addition, bottled dressings typically include stabilizers, preservatives, MSG, and refined sweeteners. The extra-virgin olive oil in this recipe is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and supplies vitamin E along with a host of wonderful antioxidants.
Crisp romaine lettuce is highly nutritious and, believe it or not, is 17% protein with 7.7 grams per head! In addition, one head of romaine lettuce contains 44% RDA of Omega-3 essential fats and has more vitamin C than an orange.

Choose bright crisp heads of romaine lettuce; avoid bunches that have rust, holes or that are limp, wilted or yellowing. It is common to find romaine that has slight browning along the very edges of the outer leaves—this is okay as long as the rest of the head looks fresh and green. Just be sure to trim the brown edges off the outer leaves.

Romaine is highly perishable; I usually store it in the fridge in a Ziploc bag. Romaine will keep for up to five days if kept dry; if wet, it likely only last a couple days.

Whenever possible, choose organic romaine because conventionally grown lettuce is often high in pesticide residue.

You’ll notice that there aren’t any croutons on this salad. The reason for this is that I’m gluten intolerant. Please feel free to add croutons for a more authentic Caesar experience!

The salad dressing recipe is from Sally Fallon’s “Nourishing Traditions” Cookbook. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Caesar Dressing:

1 t Dijon mustard
1 T raw wine vinegar
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 T finely grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish)

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 egg yolk

2 anchovy filets

1 garlic clove, peeled and mashed


1 large head Romaine lettuce

4-6 anchovy filets

Cut off edges

Cut lettuce at approximately 1” intervals

Rinse well and be sure to inspect for any stowaway insects.
Dry lettuce completely with paper towels.

In the meantime combine all ingredients in a blender.

Store in an airtight jar for up to seven days.

Serve as a side salad, or feel free to beef it up and serve it as your main course.
Take care and, as always, bon appetit!

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