Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Best Caesar Salad!

Now that I have discovered the exquisite taste of a homemade Caesar Salad, I haven't bought a pre-packaged salad since. The recipe I use is by Rachael Ray, located on

San Fran-Caesar with Sour Dough Croutons

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

Prep Time:
10 min
Inactive Prep Time:
0 min
Cook Time:
20 min
4 servings



  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cups cubed sourdough bread
  • 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

Salad and Dressing:

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
  • 2 large hearts Romaine lettuce, chopped, 7 to 8 cups
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
  • Salt and coarse black pepper
  • Anchovies, optional garnish


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Heat garlic and oil over low heat and melt butter into the oil. Place the bread in a large bowl and toss with garlic oil and butter. Season with pepper, Parmesan and thyme. Spread croutons evenly on a baking sheet and bake until crisp and golden, 15 minutes.

In the bowl you made the croutons in, combine garlic, lemon juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Whisk in extra-virgin olive oil while mixing the dressing.

Remove croutons and let cool. When you are ready to serve, add lettuce to the dressing in the bowl and toss to coat evenly. Add cheese, salt and pepper, croutons. Toss again. Adjust seasonings and serve, with or without anchovies.

My own tips:

  • minced garlic works just as well for the croutons instead of crushing it.
  • There is a reason Tabasco is recommended! I have tried other hot sauces and it really doesn't have that tang that Tabasco has. I usually add a little more than called for because I like things spicy.
  • I have done the anchovies as a garnish and it's good, but now I prefer anchovy paste right in the dressing. About 1tbsp.
  • I am hooked on Fleur De Sel Sea Salt! That is the only kind I use in salads. I order it online from Also available online from Williams-Sonoma.
  • I usually bake the croutons at 350 or 375 degrees for the 15 minutes. I like them really crunchy and golden! Still keep your eye on them though so you get the perfect color you want.
  • I have a large wooden bowl that I use for Caesars and a separate salad bowl for all other types of salads. Traditional Caesars usually have actual anchovies ground into the bottom of the bowl so the flavor ends up seeping into it. That's why many prepare their Caesar in the same wooden bowl all the time, and never prepare any other type in it.

The process for this is so easy. I have done this so many times now that I don't need the recipe and can eyeball everything. I have to warn you though-this salad will ruin just about every other Caesar Salad for you in the future. My husband especially has a hard time enjoying a Caesar when we go out to eat. He usually won't even touch it now because he knows the huge difference compared to a homemade version.

 Fleur De Sel de Camargue - 4.4 oz.
Photo from

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