It was only a few months after I had met Mr. Big Flavors. I was looking for a second job to bank some extra summer cash. He was leaving his position as a sous chef at a local restaurant, and pretty much handed me the job. Which was weird, because I knew very little about food preparation. Yep, I was a pro at basic knife skills and cooking boxed mac & cheese, but actually combining flavors into a meal that made sense? Elegantly plating dishes? Telling the temperature of meat without actually cutting through it to check how pink the center is? Yep, not so much.
Good thing Mr. Big Flavors is an excellent teacher. He taught me every item on the menu from appetizers to desserts. One of those menu items was Caesar salad dressing. I may not have known too much about cooking back then, but I did know delicious flavor.
And from that very first taste that fateful summer afternoon, I was hooked. You know that little game you play when you’re obsessed with a food? You’re pretty sure no one is watching, so you can feel free to shove as much of it down your throat as possible before they’re looking again? (because obviously if no one sees you, then surely the calories don’t count). All dinner service long, that was the game. I dipped everything in it. Vegetable scraps, croutons, those French fries that I deemed couldn’t be served… you name it, it tasted so much better if it was drowning in Caesar (and maybe with a little Asiago cheese sprinkled right on top).
And then, just as fast as it had started, the summer was over. The restaurant permanently closed, I went back to college (thankfully, Mr. Big Flavors stayed in my life), and had to trade homemade dressing for that sub par bottled stuff. I’m so glad that all these years later, we still make this great dressing at home. And every time, I’m back to my old habits of dipping everything in sight straight into that big, creamy bowl of Caesar.
A few tips on this salad:
- To make the dressing, you’ll want to use a food processor. Whisking the ingredients together will not achieve that thick consistency you want.
- Make sure the head of romaine is washed and patted super dry. This is how you ensure that the dressing will coat each and every piece of lettuce.
- Any extra dressing or croutons will store well in an air-tight container (keep the dressing in the fridge). If you make these two components the week before, this salad would come together in mere minutes on the day you actually want to eat it.
- Serve this as a main course, just grill up some chicken or shrimp and call it a meal!