As a child, Daphne Oz recalls visiting her grandmother's home and eating her Caesar salad.
"We would always have my grandma's famous Caesar salad — her Caesar dressing that she makes is out of this world and she makes this huge wooden bowl of it," says Oz, "a trough of it."
The Good Dish co-host and author of Eat Your Heart Out: No-Fuss Food to Celebrate Eating Clean has shared the recipe on her website and on Instagram, where a video of her making her own giant wooden bowl of Caesar salad has received over three million views.
"That Caesar salad is probably on our kitchen table at least once a week," Oz tells Yahoo Life. "Honestly, it's like, she gave me the recipe and I gave it to everyone. This is like a fully viral Caesar salad and it's totally justified."
"Obviously, she's my grandmother so I always thought it was the best salad ever, but people have verified it is in fact the best Caesar salad ever," she continues. "It's very nice: garlicky, lemony, really punchy. It's not as thick and rich as some Caesar salad dressings are, but it's got lots of pecorino Romano and it's fabulous."
Intrigued by Oz's rave reviews, I decided to try her recipe out in my own kitchen. The ingredients are simple: garlic, anchovies, lemon juice, olive oil and lots and lots of delicious cheese. Like Oz and her grandmother before her, I found a large wooden salad bowl in my pantry and went to work.
After creaming (finely dicing and breaking down with salt) a few cloves of garlic, I tossed them into my bowl along with dry mustard, capers and their brine and anchovies. Then, it was time to get messy: The magic of this salad dressing is all in how well you mash those ingredients into a paste with a fork in the bottom of the bowl.
Next came lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil and honey. Once everything was combined and salad dressing-like, I added lots of finely grated Parmesan. From Oz's IGTV video tutorial, I learned another amazing trick from Grandma: Cover the dressing with an overturned plate, place chopped romaine lettuce on top of the plate and put the whole thing back in the refrigerator until it's time to serve.
The plate acts as a barrier between the dressing and the lettuce, keeping things from getting soggy. When it was dinner time, all I had to do was remove the plate and toss my romaine in the cheesy, lemony, garlicky goodness.
While tossing the salad, I added larger chunks of Parmesan along with salt and pepper. There were no croutons needed, and even the grilled chicken we prepared to go on top paled in comparison to this salad's greatness. True confession: I'm not big on salad, but even I could not stop eating this one.
Oz's Caesar salad will definitely go into my summer meal rotation. The dressing is light and fresh: packed with garlic flavor and the perfect amount of saltiness. I can't wait to make it for dinner guests — I know they'll ask for the recipe and I'll be sure to point them right back to the source.
Daphne Oz's Grandmother's Eggless Caesar Salad
Courtesy of Daphne Oz
4 garlic cloves, creamed
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon capers, plus brine
4 anchovies, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Juice of 3 lemons
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ cup olive oil (more to taste)
½ teaspoon honey (optional)
½ cup grated Parmesan (or pecorino if you like a more salty bite)
½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
3 romaine hearts, torn or chopped
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
In the bottom of a salad bowl (preferably a giant wooden one), mash creamed garlic, mustard, capers and anchovies together with the back of a fork until well combined.
Add a large pinch of kosher salt and a few generous cracks of pepper and continue to mash for another minute to form a textured paste.
Add red wine vinegar, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce, then whisk to combine.
Slowly drizzle in olive oil as you whisk to emulsify the dressing.
Taste for salt and pepper, add honey if desired, then add the grated cheese and stir to combine.
Just before serving, add romaine to the bowl. Toss together with the dressing and top with shaved cheese. Serve and enjoy.
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