With Canada Day around the corner, it makes me think about the start of summer, hanging at the farm, having gatherings with family and friends, and of course, barbeques! Growing up, summertime meals revolved around the barbeque; steaks served with corn on the cob, baked potatoes, garlic toast and always, no matter what, we had a Caesar salad.
Regardless of your backyard or patio feeding style is (steaks, hotdogs or even veggie burgers) one thing that completes any meal is a good salad!
So today I’m sharing my tried and true recipe for a classic Caesar Salad dressing. If you’re used to a pre-made dressing that comes in a squeeze bottle in your local grocery store… this dressing will not taste a thing like that! This dressing is made of real ingredients, creamy and full of flavour; fresh garlic and real lemon juice will make this Caesar salad a stand out at your next whoop-up and as with all my recipes, you can customize the recipe to suit your crowd. This Caesar salad also makes an amazing main course if you serve it with your favourite protein, such as grilled chicken, shrimp, sliced beef tenderloin or even a salmon filet.
¼ cup sunflower oil (or any other light oil such as canola, vegetable or grapeseed oil)
¼ cup light mayonnaise
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp anchovy paste
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
½ tsp each salt and pepper
For the rest of the salad:
3-4 Romaine lettuce hearts
2 cups Croutons, fresh or pre-made
Fresh bacon bits
Freshly grated parmesan to serve
This dressing is not for people who can’t handle a lot of flavour; if you have a more delicate palate, go slowly with the garlic! So the key to making this dressing is to add ingredients slowly and TASTE as you go! In a mason jar, add the oil, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, anchovy paste and parmesan. Start by juicing half of the lemon and mincing just one clove of garlic. Add the salt and pepper, seal the jar tightly and shake until well mixed. Take a little taste; if it tastes like it needs more “zing” add more lemon juice and shake again. Likewise with the garlic, take a taste and make a commitment to leave it alone or add more.
Right before eating, I like to lightly dress the lettuce and about half of the croutons with a portion of the dressing and toss to coat evenly. To serve, I set out the toppings “salad bar” style so that everyone can take what they want and make the salad their own; extra dressing, more croutons, bacon bits, more parmesan, it’s up to your guests!
Whatever you’re doing to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, I hope it’s with great food and drink and a ton of fireworks!
Shannon Yacyshyn lives in Red Deer. You can find her at Kitchen Confessions Red Deer on Facebook.