The best Caesar salad recipes are those that stay true to the original Caesar salad. This is one of those. In Fact, this is the BEST Caesar salad you will ever make.
If you follow me, as you should) You would know that we did a classic Caesar dressing recipe just before the Caesar salad recipe.
Caesar dressing deserves its own post. It's such a versatile dressing to use and the way we make it is traditional but truly magical.
Caesar salad recipes vary wildly nowadays with chefs adding ingredients the original never had. Grilled chicken, Salmon, Boiled eggs, tomatoes and the list goes on.
The original Caesar salad recipe, however, stays the best. Like all classics do.
Traditionally, Caesar salad consists of whole crispy cos or Romaine lettuce leaves, homemade croutons, Parmesan cheese, Ceasar dressing and finished with some freshly cracked black pepper. The way that Caesar Cardini intended when he invented this salad.
That's it. Nothing more, nothing less.
That is exactly the same format this Caesar salad recipe will take.
The only difference. We cook smart so we will level up the dressing and croutons.
Caesar salad ingredients are very simple but, they have to be good quality. Bad ingredients will ruin your salad very quickly.
- Lettuce - You want to use nice crispy lettuce like Cos, Romaine or little gem. Don't go making this with iceberg lettuce. That stuff is for feeding rabbits and that's it. The original Caesar salad recipe was made with whole leaves. The idea is that you eat this salad by hand as use the leaves as a sort of boat that holds together the other ingredients. It's genius and that is definitely the way you should eat this. Just in case I even included a little how-to-eat-Caesar-salad Guide below)
- Parmesan - You could also use Grano Padano. Just make sure it's a hard well-matured cheese. It's packed with umami and it carries the other flavours in the salad. If you use a plastic crappy cheese. Tears will follow. Worse, you will blame me for a shit salad.
- Croutons - Unless you can buy really good artisan croutons which are basically as good as homemade then make your own. I use homemade sourdough croutons in this recipe but I also have sandwich bread crouton recipe you could use too. I suggest though you go with the sourdough croutons. Mine are made with some leftovers from this amazing sourdough bread recipe.
- Dressing - Just like the croutons. Homemade. You don't need me or this recipe if you plan on using horrible store-bought caesar dressing. My recipe for caesar dressing is the BOMB! So, make it and your tastebuds will thank you for it.
- Seasoning - Good old natural sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
How to make homemade croutons
Quick and easy as you like. Our little trick? We add grated parmesan and make supercharged Parmesan sourdough croutons.
Their simple but super delicious and you could eat them by the fist full on their own or with a cold beer.
- Tear the sourdough bread into random bite-sized chunks. Do not cut it with a knife. Tearing is way better and makes better croutons.
- Mix with grated parmesan, olive oil and a touch of salt.
- Bake at 170C until the croutons are crispy and golden brown.
- Let it Cool down completely before using.
How to make Caesar dressing
Quickly jump over to the Caesar dressing post for a more in-depth recipe. Alternatively here is a quick run-through.
- First, you want to roast the garlic and let it cool down. Easily do this at the same time as making the croutons.
- When cool add with all ingredients apart from the oils
- Slowly add in the oils while whisking vigorously to ensure you have a smooth stable dressing.
The full Caesar dressing post also has alternatives like using mayonnaise or what to do if you are cautious of eating a raw egg and explains what to do if you end up splitting the dressing.
Making the Salad
Once you have your Caesar ingredients together it's time to finally make this salad.
Don't listen to the fools that tell you to chop up your salad or tear it or anything that involves fucking up the leaves.
This is not a tossed salad.
Pick the leaves one by one of the salad and trim the bottoms. Wash and dry thoroughly and lay on a plate.
If your salad leaves are wet the dressing will run off and the croutons will get wet too.
If this happens, you might start crying after all your hard work is ruined.
I know I would.
The Parmesan should be thinly shaved ideally using a mandolin or a very sharp vegetable peeler. No grated stuff here. Keep that for another day.
Liberally drizzle the Caesar dressing all over the leaves. Followed by some croutons and Parmesan shavings and again a drizzle of dressing.
Finally, finish with a generous grinding of fresh black pepper.
How to properly eat a Caesar
There's only one way to properly enjoy it once you've made this Caesar salad recipe. See Below.
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Below are a few variations and how you can modify a classic Caesar salad recipe.
- Add Protein - You can add proteins like grilled salmon, chicken, shrimps or soft boiled eggs. Just keep the seasoning on those simple.
- Change the cheese - Any Parmesan style cheese
- Modify the dressing a bit - You could add a bit of kick to the dressing by adding a few drops of tabasco or sriracha. You could make the dressing without the anchovies if you don't like them. But, They are essential to the taste.
- Other additions - Cured tomatoes, young crispy cucumber and ripe avocado all love this dressing so, could do well in here.
- Add pasta - Adding pasta is ludicrous. Please don't). If you like pasta then have it properly like in this easy pasta recipe or even make your own 2-ingredient pasta from scratch.
- Change the leaves to flimsy ones - Caesar salad is meant to be made with sturdy crispy leaves so that you can pick them up. Can't pick up a baby spinach leaf when loaded with dressing, croutons and cheese). If you like spinach then rather have it steamed, creamed or with another salad like this cured salmon salad.
- Use cheap nasty cheese - Only use aged mature hard cheese. Cheap cheddar or something like gouda will just ruin a good thing.
- Grill the salad - I've seen this at a few places and as much as I like grilled salad, it is not a Caesar once the leaves are wilted and soft. If you would like to know how to grill salad properly though check out this post about side dishes done on the BBQ.
If you do decide to improvise and be a bit creative, follow this little guide above and make sure to keep the additions and flavours to a minimum.
A Caesar salad is simple but, the flavour is big so try and keep it that way. Only add one or two extra things and don't overload the salad.
By itself, Caesar Salad can be a full meal. Alternatively, serve as a side salad with some of the following or as part of a feast.
- BBQ and meat - Crispy pork belly, angelfish or any other lamb dishes like lamb koftas, slow-roasted lamb leg or grilled lamb chops.
- Steak - Very steakhouse with a juicy grilled or pan-fried steak.
- Fish - With pan-fried salmon or even with something light like seabass Crudo or cured salmon gravlax.
- Sidekick - Serve together with other cold and side dishes as part of a feast or antipasti like roasted Romano Peppers and tapenade, creamed spinach or this delicious pea, mint and feta dip.
Other recipes you might like
Below are a few more great recipes I think you might find useful.
- Creamy coleslaw
- Smashed Chinese cucumbers
- Whole roasted cauliflower
- Moroccan spiced couscous
- Duck breast stir fry salad
- Roasted carrots and chanterelles
- Warm uncured bacon and potato salad
Useful equipment for this recipe
Pepper grinder - Buy Now
OVEN TRAY - Buy Now
Mixing bowl - Buy Now
High-speed blender - Buy Now
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