I remember when I was in high school and we had family dinners at my mom’s house on the weekend, we would sometimes eat in the dinning room and have courses. There would be a little appetizer, a salad, and a main course. Dessert was usually popcorn in front of the TV, or bowls of ice cream (mom didn’t bake much after grade school, aside from the occasional banana bread or gingersnaps). One of the things about the food that has stuck with me is my mom’s salads.
She kind of went through “salad phases”. Not that she went through them alone, we all did. They were requested by us and savored and we had some of them over and over. It was the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, and it seems like the eating trends of the time were well reflected.
There was a blue cheese and candied walnut or pecan salad with chopped apple or pear and balsamic dressing. There was a caprese salad when the tomatoes in the summer were ripe. There was a real classic caeser salad that had raw egg, whole anchovy fillets, and lots and lots of garlic. The caesar was served as whole romaine leaves with the croutons lined up and shards of parm sprinkled on top. The way you ate it was by picking up the leaves and eating the dressed leaf one bite at a time like a crunchy garlicky hot dog.
This is inspired by that salad. I loved my mom’s original dressing, but alas, no more eggs for me. This version is just as garlicky, tangy and classic. I have a confession to make. I shot these photos with my iphone. I don’t normally do that, but it’s summer and it’s hot and honestly I have other things to do… like go on an evening walk or sip a drink on my patio. So I thought I would give you this recipe in a casual way, as if you came over to my house and wanted the version I wrote down on a post-it note.
The great thing about this egg-free dressing is that it comes together in no time flat and lasts at least a week in the fridge for easy dinners. I love using my immersion blender for this; it’s easier to clean then the food processor and mine came with a mixing cup that is perfect for this.
You can also use yogurt along with the mayo in this, or instead of. You can use shredded parm or shaved. You can use homemade croutons or store-bought.
I’ve done both and it works, whichever way you want to take it.
That’s really the theme of this time of year, right?
- Romaine lettuce
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Red Onion, thinly sliced
- Parmesan cheese, shaved or grated
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup egg-free mayonnaise (see note)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons anchovy paste or 2 anchovy fillets
- 1-2 small garlic cloves
- Arrange the lettuce leaves, tomatoes, red onion and croutons on plates. To prepare the dressing, place all the ingredients in a small bowl and blend with a stick blender (or use a food processor).
- Top the salads with the dressing and finish with parmesan cheese.