Back in the days when I thought (erroneously) that losing weight was all about dieting and calorie counting, I devised what is one of my only (to date) purely “Mim” recipes, the following one for Caesar Salad Dressing. I can tell you with absolute honesty that I have never served it that I was not asked for the recipe. If you love a good Caesar Salad but hate, as I do, what has been done to the boldness and clarity of flavors it should bring to the table, give this a try. It is so packed with zing that when I was dieting I used just 2 tablespoons of dressing and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese (plus croutons and tons of freshly ground black pepper, of course) to dress ½ head of Romaine. And it still had a ton of great Caesar taste! Oh, yeah, did I say that it’s very, very easy?
You should double the recipe. It will keep in the fridge forever, and you get to use up the entire tin of anchovies.
If you are one of those people who worry about raw eggs and salmonella, you can replace the eggs with eggbeaters if you wish. However, if I might add one informational tidbit, I have read (and, be assured, I choose my reading from only the most authoritative sources), eggs can actually never be cooked enough to make them completely safe from the threat of salmonella.
MIM’S CAESAR SALAD DRESSING
2 T olive oil
1 egg, or the Eggbeater equivalent
3 cloves garlic
1 T wine vinegar
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
½ can (about 5) anchovy fillets, drained, but not rinsed
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp. salt
Blend all ingredients in blender or food processor. Store in the refrigerator.
My vinaigrette is not exceptional in any way, except that it recognizes that salads need to be overseasoned, and I have chosen to do this with my favorite “overseasoning” agents, Dijon mustard and shallots. I am never without this dressing in my refrigerator, and I always greatly enjoy a salad dressed with it. It’s a zesty, welcome accompaniment to any well-conceived combination of salad ingredients. It is also the base of my Potato Salad, which is one of my “famous” recipes. For that, stay tuned.
Another factor that sets this vinaigrette apart is the use of sherry vinegar. It gives the dressing an uncommonly smooth, classy finish. Do yourself a favor and buy some; even my Stop & Shop carries one. It takes vinaigrette to a level far above what you will get with other vinegars. Even on my pathetic budget I spring for it!
3 T sherry vinegar
9 T good, fruity olive oil
1 large shallot, finely minced
1 heaping T Dijon mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (preferably Tellicherry)
Put it all into a jar, shake the bejeezus out of it, and remember me. :}
For those of you who have kids still at the dipping stage of learning to love salad (you know, the baby carrots, celery sticks, grape tomatoes game), this dressing will be your friend. It is so child-friendly that they won’t even know they’ve been had! But in truth, every member of my family, kids and adults alike love this dressing. It’s just wonderful. It has a great tomato taste, and is gently savory on the tongue. It has everything you look for in a dressing, and on top of it all, it is easy, and inexpensive to make. In comparison it makes the taste and cost of store dressings look just plain ridiculous.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
FIDDLEHEAD HOUSE DRESSING
The Fiddlehead Cookbook
1/2 cup good-quality mayonnaise
1/2 cup seeded and coarsely chopped tomatoes
1/3 cup coarsely chopped onion (1 small)
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T vegetable oil
3-4 parsley sprigs, washed and squeezed dry (about 1/2 tablespoon chopped parsley)
Place all ingredients in a large blender or food processor. Purée until smooth.
Transfer to a 2-cup container, cover, and store refrigerated for up to 3 days. Serve with salad or as a vegetable dip.