CaeSAr salad with homemade mayonnaise

by Stacy

As the proud new shareholder of a giant box of vegetables from my CSA, my first question was, naturally, what the heck do I do with a giant box of vegetables?

Don’t worry, I have some ideas. My CSA farm also has some recipe suggestions.

But the first thing we made was something simple that we don’t have at home much: salad. Most of the lettuce at our house goes into tacos. The Veggie-Hating Husband only likes spinach salad (also the only way he will eat spinach), so not much impetus for me to stock up on lettuce in general. So when two robust heads of Romaine arrived on Tuesday, I saw a lot of salad in my future.

Then my husband suggested a Caesar salad with dinner. For both of us!

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I started looking into the possibility. A friend had mixed up some Caesar dressing the other week from Pioneer Woman’s recipe and it was really good. It’s not the traditional Caesar recipe (to quote my aunt: olive oil, lemon, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, anchovy, garlic, and an egg, a coddled egg!), but it’s a creamy, lemony, satisfying dressing to be sure. The only ingredient I was missing was mayonnaise.

We don’t really use mayo, so I don’t keep any on hand. In a somewhat serendipitous manner, I had managed to break the last egg in the carton that morning but had saved the yolk — all I needed to make a small batch of mayonnaise. One egg yolk, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and half canola oil and half olive oil, plus a splash of lemon juice and some minced garlic gave me this:

homemade mayonnaise

Since we don’t use it much, it actually worked better to use items I had than to run to the store for something I didn’t really need — the dressing only call for 2 tablespoons of mayo and I wasn’t even making a whole recipe! A few people asked if it was anything amazing, and I have to say it still tasted like mayonnaise. Good mayo, but still mayo. It is, however, free of preservatives and was pretty tasty.

The other ingredient I was missing for PW’s recipe was French bread for the croutons. Admittedly, I am not much of a crouton fan, but these croutons are so good! Alas, no bread meant no croutons. I would recommend them, though, so while I posted the dressing recipe below, if you’re feeling ambitious, I’ve linked to the recipe on her site if you want the crouton directions as well.

caesar salad

The other change I made (no offense to the Pioneer Woman) is that I did not discard two-thirds of my perfectly good lettuce. While I like the crunchy hearts, I also enjoy the dark green leafy bits and included those in my salad. They were too pretty to be compost! The salad was still delicious, and even He Who Hates Vegetables had a generous portion. The Parmesan cheese didn’t hurt.

Homemade Mayonnaise

Adapted from The Perfect Pantry
Makes 1 cup

1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons warm water
½ heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
¾ cup canola or olive oil, or a combination (using olive oil gives the mayo a pronounced olive oil flavor)
½ teaspoon salt
lemon juice
minced garlic

1.) Add egg yolk, water, and mustard to the bowl of a food processor. Run the blade to make sure it catches the mixture, dribble in a bit more water if needed or stir up the yolk to get it to catch. Run the food processor until the mixture is pale yellow (about 30 seconds or so).

2.) The oil must be added very slowly to ensure that the mixture emulsifies. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil very very slowly. An easy way to do this is that the food pushers of most food processors have a tiny hole in the bottom, so you can add part of the oil in the food pusher and it will drip out at an appropriate speed. Keep drizzling (or letting it drip) until about 1/4 cup of the oil has been added, then add it by the tablespoon until about 1/2 cup is in. Stop the motor and check the mayonnaise to make sure it is emulsifying. If so, continue adding the oil slowly until it is all combined.

3.) When all the oil has been added, add the salt and, if using, lemon juice and garlic to taste. Enjoy!

Caesar Salad

Adapted from the Pioneer Woman Cooks
Makes enough for 4 large or 6 small salads

2 tablespoons lemon juice
2½ tablespoon mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (note: not vegetarian, could substitute soy sauce)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 hearts of Romaine, with or without outer leaves as dersired
5 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
fresh cracked black pepper to taste

1.) Combine lemon juice, mayo, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic in a bowl. Whisk well to combine.

2.) Drizzle olive oil over Romaine lettuce and toss to coat. Then drizzle dressing over lettuce and toss again.

3.) Add most of the Parmesan cheese and toss again. Serve, topping with the rest of the cheese and a generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper (and croutons if desired). Enjoy!

caesar salad

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Xan July 10, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Just have to tell you that I use this recipe for mayo all the time! Thanks!


Stacy July 11, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Hooray! Thanks for letting me know. It’s always nice to hear. =)


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