Probably the CC's favorite salad. Its salty umami-laden magic is just off the charts and it's truly sad that it's turned into a bad cliché with horrible ingredients.
Years ago, the CC visited April Bloomfield's justly famous restaurant where the "star" of the dinner was a whole pig. The lead-in to the dinner was this amazing Caesar salad and since the entire dinner was unlimited (minus the pig), at some point there was a call for salad seconds.
The table was ambivalent and after a pregnant silence, the CC shouted out a very loud, "YES!"
The table staff got some more and then they teased the CC while they served him, "I guess you don't want any more, right?"
This is her recipe unexpurgated. The CC doesn't know why it took so long to make it. It's literally perfect and the CC is smacking himself upside the head as we speak.
If you have a deep measuring cup and an immersion blender, this is a cinch to make.
There are a few changes. She prefers "neutral" oil but the CC overwhelmingly prefers olive oil. The vinegar change is marginal.
She goes with a a classic Caesar salad. Romaine, dressing, croutons but if you want a complete meal, feel free to top it with a grilled chicken (along with the filleted anchovies mentioned below.)
(Source: Directly from April Bloomfield's book A Girl and her Pig.)
1 large egg
7 whole anchovies (separated into 14 fillets)
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
2 medium garlic cloves
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2-1 cup olive oil (very approximate!!!)
1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano (grated coarsely)
romaine lettuce (separated, washed, dried)
parmigiano-reggiano (for grating)
a "few" anchovy fillets (for topping)
pepper to taste
Note 1: The raw egg is non-negotiable. Buy eggs from a reputable source. Wash them thoroughly in warm water with soap and dry before you crack them. All the germs are (mostly) on the surface. The egg has strong properties to repel invaders even if mildly cracked. That's why raw eggs last longer in the fridge than cooked ones!
Note 2: You only need half the dressing since there's no way to make "half" an egg. That's how it goes.
Note 3: The dressing will last for at most 3 days in the fridge afterwards because of the raw egg. You'll just have to eat this excellence twice. The CC's heart bleeds for you.
Note 4: The CC used a blend of 1/8 cup champagne vinegar and 1/8 cup sherry vinegar. It makes a difference. The champagne vinegar by itself would be too tart.
Drop everything for the dressing into a deep measuring cup except the oil. Blend gently. Add the oil a little at a time and blend it.
(She dumps the stuff one at a time but frankly, the CC saw no difference between dumping everything (minus the oil) in at once. Adding the oil a little at the time is mostly because you want it to get to a certain consistency. The CC did not need anywhere near 1 cup of oil. Chances are the CC's egg was larger.)
It should be sharp (from the mustard and vinegar), salty, and umami-laden. You should not need to add salt. The ingredients should be salty enough. Balance the ingredients if necessary.
Mix the salad thoroughly with half of the dressing. The filleted anchovies and the parmesan are on top. Chill for at least 5 minutes and then serve.