Having attended approximately 48,344 weddings in the last ten years, I’ve had my fair share of Caesar salads. (And penne a la vodka.) (And chicken francese.) (And “Butterfly Kisses,” which is not a food, but rather the most overplayed, maudlin piece of treacle in the entire history of music. I barf on Bob Carlisle.)
Where was I? Oh yeah – Caesar salad. I’ve consumed many, and few have stuck out as anything more than “meh.” I’m not sure if that’s the nature of the dish (“It’s a Caesar salad. Whadja want, Lobster Thermidore?”), or subpar efforts on behalf of 98% of the food service industry. Too many restaurants and catering halls seem to believe that limp romaine + stale croutons + $0.99 bottled dressing = culinary tour de force.
I call fie on this. (Fie!) A good Caesar salad requires glorious parmesan, a sophisticated lemony-olive oil flavor, and dressing that doesn’t taste like the backwash of the damned.
Cooking Light’s Creamy Caesar Dressing takes care of that last requirement quite nicely. With a ten-minute prep time and a short list of readily available ingredients, it's a quick complement to a classy salad base. At $0.11 per serving, it's comparable to nicer bottled dressings in price, though the taste is fresher and way livelier. Two notes:
1) Tangy doesn’t begin to describe, so feel free to reduce the lemon juice a tad.
2) I used low-fat yogurt instead of the fat-free variety, and it worked fine.
Cooking Light graciously provided the nutritional information, so only price calculations are included below.
Creamy Caesar Dressing
Makes 8 servings of 1 tablespoon each
Adapted from Cooking Light.
1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1) Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour on salad. That's it.
Approximate Calories, Fat and Price per Serving
26 calories, 1.8 g fat, $0.11
1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt: $0.23
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice: $0.25
1 tablespoon olive oil: $0.08
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar: $0.05
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce: $0.10
1 teaspoon anchovy paste: $0.12
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard: $0.06
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper: $0.02
1 garlic clove, minced: $0.02
PER SERVING (TOTAL/8): $0.11