The Best Caesar Salad Recipe

The Food Lab

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The Best Caesar Salad Recipe

[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

There's a reason that in the 90 years since its invention, the Caesar salad has become the default second salad option at every single major restaurant chain in the country. The combination of savory, creamy, tangy, and crunchy ingredients is tasty stuff. This classic Caesar salad with garlic-Parmesan croutons and a creamy dressing might just be the best version yet.

  • Yield:Serves 4
  • Active time: 20 minutes
  • Total time:20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup (105ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 3 cups hearty bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup), divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 to 6 anchovies (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) Worcestershire sauce (see note)
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) canola oil
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, inner leaves only, washed and carefully dried, large leaves torn into smaller pieces, smaller leaves left intact

Directions

  1. 1.

    Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons (45ml) olive oil with minced garlic and whisk for 30 seconds. Transfer to a fine-mesh strainer set over a large bowl and press with the back of a spoon to extract as much oil as possible, leaving garlic behind. Reserve pressed garlic separately. Add bread cubes to garlic oil and toss to coat. Add 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss again. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until croutons are pale golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and toss with 2 more tablespoons Parmesan. Allow to cool.

  2. 2.

    While croutons bake, make the dressing. Combine egg yolk, lemon juice, anchovies, Worcestershire sauce, pressed garlic, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese in the bottom of a cup that just fits the head of an immersion blender or in the bottom of a food processor. With blender or processor running, slowly drizzle in canola oil until a smooth emulsion forms. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in remaining 1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil. Season to taste generously with salt and pepper.

  3. 3.

    To serve, toss lettuce with a few tablespoons of dressing, adding more if desired. Once lettuce is coated, add half of remaining cheese and three-quarters of croutons and toss again. Transfer to a salad bowl and sprinkle with remaining cheese and croutons. Serve.