The Caesar Salad is the end product of experience meeting circumstance. Legend has it that Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant living in the United States but working in Tijuana, Mexico in the 1920s, created this salad because of an unexpected rush of customers and limited supplies.
Using just a few simple ingredients found in his kitchen, he decided to make a performance out of the process. He prepared and tossed the salad table-side to entertain the customers and sell the new dressing.
A garlic and anchovy paste is the base of the dressing. While this paste can be created in a food processor or blender, it will be to the detriment of your end goal. The food processor will only cut the garlic, losing all the juices and flavors that are released when crushed with a pestle. A blender creates an oddly thick and chunky dressing that won’t excite anybody’s taste buds.
Classic Caesar Dressing recipe made with Mortar & Pestle
The only way to get that creamy dressing you expect is by crushing the garlic and anchovy into a smooth paste and the easiest way to accomplish this is with a mortar and pestle. With a bit of salt and some elbow grease, this paste is quickly created and you’re ready to finish emulsifying the dressing.
100 years later, the Caesar dressing is globally one of the most popular salad dressings, with both bottled versions and table-side preparations still widely used. Seems like Cardini created a creamy masterpiece with genius and necessity.
3-4 garlic cloves
3-4 anchovy fillets (dried with paper towel)
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
(Optional) dash of hot sauce
Salt and Pepper
KROK Mortar and Pestle
Add the garlic and a pinch of salt to your KROK. Crush the garlic with your pestle and then grind until you get a smooth paste.
Add the anchovies and continue crushing and grinding until the filets are broken apart and your paste is smooth again.
In a separate bowl, mix egg yolks and Dijon mustard until combined and pour into the mortar.
Whisk until everything is combined and add lemon juice.
Add a pinch of freshly ground black pepper.
To get perfect emulsification, that creamy dressing, take the following step slowly. While continuously whisking, gradually add the olive oil. Begin with a slow drip and work your way up to drizzle until all olive oil is used. Do not stop whisking. This process is similar to making mayonnaise.
Taste to see if anything else is needed. If it’s too bitter, a pinch of sugar or more lemon juice can help. If it’s too sweet or acidic, add a bit of Worcestershire sauce or salt.
Ready to prepare your salad?
Time for the salad…
While this isn’t technically part of the recipe, the Caesar salad is obviously why we are creating homemade Caesar dressing. In a large bowl, add in your Romaine lettuce leaves with some croutons. Salt and pepper to taste before pouring in your dressing and tossing. Then add freshly grated parmesan cheese before tossing again. Your delicious salad is now ready to impress anyone at your table. Enjoy!