Larry and Eloise were our neighbors growing up, just a short jaunt through the woods to their house. Not only were they neighbors, they were like second parents to Dana and me, we spent a lot of time with them while Mom and Dad were working. These are some of our best memories, Larry and El always had something fun up their sleeves for us to do; dressing up with masks, arts and crafts with glitter and ribbons, listening to Peter Paul and Mary, playing in the lake, chasing the cats, watching Princess Bride, there was always something fun to do. Larry brought us tubing on the lake when we were only two years old (Dad, didn’t believe it until he saw it with his own eyes), he’d always be up for bringing us skiing and tubing, and always lent his boat driving services to our beach parties! Eloise would let Dana and I have whatever we wanted, under one condition, we would promise not to “become juvenile delinquents.” We made good on that promise, El! I’m sure I used this promise to allow me to eat far too many Cool Ranch Doritos (yes, before they were “cooler ranch”). One of these Dorito binges is caught on VHS, and Eloise calls me a “Dorito pig”. Me in my infinite 4 year old wisdom replies, “well, then Dad and Rick are ‘beer pigs’!” At this stage of my life I had a New England-ish accent and had trouble with my R’s, ‘bee-ah pigs’ sounded so great, its one of my favorite things to say to this day.
And I digress…anyway- Eloise would always make this salad when she and Larry came over to our house for dinner. Dana and I remember it being a Caesar salad, but it’s not like your traditional Caesar salad, with feta cheese instead of Parmesan and the dressing is a little different. The taste of this salad dressing brings me right back to being 4 years old, standing on a kitchen stool watching Eloise whip this up. As I have written before, there is nothing I love more than a little nostalgia.
Here’s what you need for our version of a Caesar salad:
Start by making the dressing. It’s as easy as putting lemon juice, mustard, garlic, egg, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, mix them together real good. Then whisk in the oil.
As a public health professional, I have to warn you about using raw eggs in anything, always assume they are contaminated with Salmonella. When an egg is called for in something that won’t get cooked, you can buy pasteurized eggs (expensive and sometimes hard to find) or pasteurize them at home. Bring a pan of water up to 140 degrees, put the eggs in, and let sit for 4 minutes. This should kill the bacteria and also not cook the egg. Alternatively, you can throw caution to the wind and just use raw eggs, I’ve eaten my fair share of cookie dough with raw eggs and survived.
This dressing makes a more than you’ll need for one night’s salad but keeps nice in the fridge.
Here is one more way that Eloise’s Caesar salad differs from traditional ones, it is deconstructed. El always used whole romaine leaves instead of chopping them. You can do this and use a fork and knife to cut them, or like Dana and I did, put the croutons, feta, and dressing on the leaf, and roll it up. Little did we know, we were making lettuce wraps before lettuce wraps were cool! Either way you choose, this is the point where you toss the salad with the dressing, add the croutons (we made Dana’s homemade croutons for this one), and feta cheese.
We think it’s more fun to eat them deconstructed like this, but of course, do what suits you!
You can also add chicken or shrimp for some protein and make it a meal.
Edward prefers his salads with chicken:
- For the dressing:
- ½ cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- 2 cups olive oil
- 1t Dijon mustard
- 1 egg
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- salt and pepper
- Hearts of romaine lettuce
- feta cheese
- Start by making the dressing
- Combine all the dressing ingredients except the oil, mix well
- Whisk in the oil
- Set aside while you make the salad
- Toss the romaine hearts in dressing
- Add croutons and feta cheese