A phenomenal classic Caesar salad is sort of like a unicorn — they are both rare and elusive, some doubt that either exists — but a really good Caesar salad is much easier to find than a unicorn. The tools and ingredients needed to make an exceptional Caesar salad can be found in almost every kitchen, and the techniques are essentials every cook should know.
Make the best from-scratch croutons on the stovetop, make a classic Caesar dressing, and put them both together on a bowl of romaine that has been properly prepared and enjoy a unicorn-like Caesar salad of your dreams.
Make the Best Croutons
Stovetop croutons are the best croutons for Caesar salad making. Nothing against store-bought croutons, it’s just that stovetop croutons made from leftover bread are infinitely more tasty and easily customizable. Plus, they only take about 10 minutes to toast up and don’t require heating up the oven. Croutons for Caesar salad can be made up to a few days in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Get a Recipe: How To Make Stovetop Croutons
Make the Best Dressing
Caesar salad is all about that classic creamy dressing. The dressing should have plenty of garlic and Parmesan cheese, a bit of briny anchovies, and lots of black pepper. This classic uses raw egg yolks to build a creamy emulsion without any cream. Use pasteurized egg yolks if you are feeding this salad to the very young or elderly, or feel uncomfortable with raw egg yolks.
Get a Recipe: How to Make Classic Caesar Dressing
Cut the Romaine!
This is may cause some controversy, but the best Caesar salad has cut (not torn) romaine lettuce. Cutting the lettuce keeps it colder than man-handling it does, plus it guarantees uniform pieces of lettuce that are easy to eat. Cut the romaine into bite-sized pieces and wash under cool running water before drying throughly (a salad spinner is best, but laying on paper towels and patting dry works too). Wet lettuce prevents the dressing from coating the lettuce well.
Assembly Is Key
Assembly is a small step in success to the ultimate Caesar salad. Toss the romaine with the dressing first, and then add the croutons and toss again. Add some shaved Parmesan for both garnish and seasoning — Parmesan is salty, so taste and adjust seasoning after adding the cheese. Serve the salad as soon as possible after assembly. After all, crisp (not wilted) romaine is one of the hallmarks of an exceptional Caesar salad.
How To Make the Ultimate Classic Caesar Salad
Makes 6 to 8 servings
What You Need
For the dressing:
For the salad:
Per serving, based on 6 servings. (% daily value)