What makes a Caesar salad recipe great is that its dressing is a super creamy, tangy, and cheesy one that coats each lettuce leaf wonderfully well. Plus, it’s so easy, you can make it in minutes!
This version takes hard-to-find or expensive ingredients such as anchovies, lemons, and even Parmesan cheese and swaps these with easier and more affordable ingredients that you might already have in your kitchen.
What Is A Caesar Salad?
Just in case you didn’t know, the Caesar salad didn’t originate from Italy. According to popular belief, the caesar salad was invented by an Italian chef named Caesar Cardini but he wasn’t in his home country when this salad was created. He was in Mexico. While there is contention regarding exactly who made the salad dressing, what is known as fact is that it was made in Caesar’s Tijuana restaurant and it’s still being served there.
The iconic dressing is a mixture of anchovy fillets mashed into a creamy mixture of egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and olive oil tossed with romaine lettuce and topped with croutons or crusty bread cubes. It was so easy to make that it could be made tableside which made it an instant hit!
How To Serve Pinoy-Style Caesar Salad
A salad is one of those dishes that doesn’t require much more once served. It’s already been tossed in a flavorful dressing that coats everything so adding more ingredients to it is best if you’re adding a different flavor, texture, or aroma to the basic dish. This means you can add both flavor and crunch with crunchy bacon bits and croutons, nuttiness with chopped walnuts, heartiness with grilled chicken or poached eggs, or even sweetness with chunks of apples or mangoes.
You can even roast or grill the hardy romaine lettuce leaves to give it a unique charred taste to an otherwise normal caesar salad.
How To Make Pinoy-Style Caesar Salad
The salad is just a bland bowl of leafy greens without the dressing so making a tasty and addictive salad “sauce” is really required to make lettuce more appetizing. It starts with a raw egg yolk.
Once the egg yolk is prepared, the rest of the ingredients (except the oil) are added and mixed together well. You can use a whisk or even a fork to do this. The tricky part comes next: drizzling in the oil. Gradually add the oil or use a tablespoon to whisk in the oil. It may take time but if you exhibit patience and do this bit by bit, you’ll be rewarded with a thick and creamy consistency that will easily coat the lettuce leaves easily.
Prepare the lettuce leaves and transfer these into a large bowl. Add dressing and toss until leaves are lightly coated. Plate the leaves. Top with croutons, bacon bits if using, and grated cheese, and serve immediately.
Tips To Make Pinoy-Style Caesar Salad
A salad dressing is thought to be easy and simple but it has tricky parts that can make it intimidating to make at home. Here are tips to keep in mind if you’re thinking of making this recipe:
1 Worried about raw eggs? You can cook it!
For those who are worried about raw eggs, eggs can be easily pasteurized by gently soft boiling the eggs or even whipping the egg yolk over a simmering water bath until hot enough. This is normally 140 degrees F or 60 degrees C. You can also purchase ready-pasteurized eggs that can be refrigerated or frozen until needed.
2 Swap the oil for a different oil.
This uses olive oil for that classic flavor but you can swap this with regular vegetable oil for a more neutral-tasting dressing. This can also be a mix of the two kinds of oil: half olive oil and half vegetable oil so you will still get the unique flavor of the olive oil without spending so much.
3 Switch to tinapa.
Tuyo is dried and salted but if you want to deliver a more flavorful dressing, try another kind of fish: tinapa. Tinapa is different from tuyo since this fish is smoked and not just dried and salted. If you’re out of bacon, tinapa delivers the smokiness that you might miss from the bacon.
4 Use queso de bola.
Parmesan cheese is imported and can be expensive if you’re going to buy the real thing. You can also use the bottled version which is more affordable but can taste chalky. There’s another cheese you can use: queso de bola. Grated finely, it’s a delicious cheese substitute for Parmesan for this recipe.
5 Add oil slowly and whisk well.
To avoid breaking the emulsion when making the dressing, use a squeeze bottle so you can more easily add the oil a little bit at a time.
6 Use a blender.
If you have it and want to skip the tiresome whisking involved, you can use a blender or better yet, a hand blender aka immersion blender to mix the salad dressing ingredients. However, the oil still needs to be added little by little but it’s less tiring for you to do this at the same time.
How To Store Pinoy-Style Caesar Salad
A caesar salad dressing is commonly made and eaten as soon as it’s made, but you can actually store this dressing. You do need to use an airtight container so its flavors will be retained as it sits. However, since this dressing contains eggs, it should be consumed within 2 days at the most for best results and for food safety reasons.
Once tossed with the lettuce leaves however, it should be consumed immediately or else the leaves will become wilted and will start to go bad. This is why it’s always best to toss the salad dressing and the lettuce leaves right before serving so this doesn’t happen. You can prepare and store the lettuce leaves easily until you’re ready to toss the two together.
Watch: Pinoy-Style Caesar Salad Recipe
Pinoy-Style Caesar Salad Recipe
Easy Pinoy-Style Caesar Salad Recipe
Easy Pinoy-Style Caesar Salad Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups croutons
- 8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 5 tablespoons parmesan cheese grated, divided, more to garnish
- Salt to taste
- 1 large Egg
- 3 pieces Bottled Tuyo Fillets In Oil
- 2 cloves Garlic peeled, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Calamansi Juice
- 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ground black pepper to taste
- 2 small heads Romaine lettuce rinsed, dried, leaves separated
- hot water just off the boil
- Retoast the croutons (optional): In a large bowl, gently toss croutons, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, and salt. Place on a baking sheet and toast at 375 degrees F/190 degrees C until lightly browned. Set aside until ready to serve.
- Meanwhile, coddle or gently cook the egg in water: Place the egg in a bowl. Pour enough hot water into the mug to cover the egg. Let cook for 1 minute. Drain the water and rinse under cold water until just cool enough to touch. Break the egg in a bowl and separate the yolk from the white. Transfer yolk to a large bowl. Discard egg white if desired.
- In a large bowl, add tuyo fillets. Finely mash with a fork. Add garlic, calamansi juice, Worcestershire sauce, and remaining Parmesan. Top with the egg yolk. Whisk with a fork until well mixed. Slowly drizzle in olive oil in a steady stream while whisking, stopping as necessary to incorporate the oil before adding more, until the mixture is well mixed and is of a thick consistency.
- Break romaine lettuce into bite-sized pieces. Add romaine lettuce to the dressing and gently toss with two spatulas or salad tossers. Divide among plates. Add croutons and top with more Parmesan. Serve immediately.