As a request from a guest who now lives in Arkansas, here’s something I seldom do, a salad dressing technique.
Sigh, as usual we don’t really have a small portion recipe, but this is what you can do to replicate our Caesar Dressing at home. It makes a good batch and will keep in the refrigerator for at least a couple of weeks.
It helps to do this in a food processor like a Cuisenart.
Start with a good commercial Caesar base, we use Hellman’s in a pinch because it’s inexpensive, but not cheap, and you will wind up with a dressing that is your own anyway so why spend a lot for a fancy label.
By the end of the process you should about double that amount of base when finished.
Extend by a third to a half, the original base with good mayonnaise. For example, if you have 16 oz. commercial Caesar base, add 6 to 8 oz. (a cup is 8 oz.) mayonnaise.
Blend together with canned anchovy. Start with one, add another until you establish your favored underlying, slightly salty fish, flavor profile (read salt), add chopped garlic to your taste and blend well together. Again, start small (Teaspoon say), you can always add more.
We find that a good liquid fish sauce is a decent substitute for canned anchovy, if you prefer not to have most of a can of anchovy hanging around the house for a month. Real anchovy is, however, better.
Add balsamic vinegar to acidify and color, start with a quarter cup and add more by little bits until you are good with the taste.
Add a good virgin olive oil and blend well, start with a half-cup and thin the dressing with a little water until you have the desired consistency.
By now, the flavor of the commercial dressing should be buried and made your own.
We finish ours with a strong amount of freshly grated parmesan, just a bit of brown sugar or molasses to take the edge off the balsamic and some good twists of black pepper.
This is just a roadmap; adjust any of the seasonings to make your dressing specific to your taste. Cooking is an art form; feel free to color outside the lines. You can always write it down as you go, to reference later.
One last thing, we taste our dressings with a bit of lettuce. You’ll get a more true picture of the final product that way.