Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Caesar Dressing with Anchovies OR Capers

This creamy Caesar dressing with anchovies OR capers is perfect tossed with crisp Romaine leaves. The caper version is ideal when you are hosting vegetarian or vegan friends. Omni friends will not notice the missing anchovies. 

Among friends in Kuala Lumpur, my most requested dish to bring to a potluck is my Caesar salad.  I always made it just by pouring a little of this and a lot of that in a large measuring cup while not actually measuring.  But when folks started requesting the recipe, I had to take measure.  

Caesar Dressing with Anchovies OR Capers

My original recipe calls for a small can of anchovies. I would like to give credit for the caper substitution for vegetarians to my elder daughter’s roommate, Molly. 
Molly is a creative cook as well as a talented artist.  Last year she spent a semester in Italy and I thoroughly enjoyed following her exploits and getting to know her through her sketchbook blog.  And I drooled over her Facebook photos of the rustic tarts she made for a potluck.  

2 tablespoons fresh or reconstituted lime or lemon juice (You can also use vinegar, in a pinch.  Desperate times have called for desperate measures.)
3/4 cup or 180ml olive oil
1/4 cup or 60ml cold water (Using cold water helps the dressing emulsify.)
1 small (1.6 oz or 45g) can anchovies in olive oil OR two generous tablespoons drained tiny capers
1/4 teaspoon powdered English mustard (Colemans)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 large cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste  (You can add the salt after blending if you’d like.  Some anchovies and capers are saltier than others.  We don’t mind salty so I just go for it with a 1/4 teaspoon.  And add more after if necessary.)

This is so easy.  Puree all the ingredients in a blender or with a hand blender until emulsified. 

Give it a quick taste and add more salt, if necessary.

If you are using capers, the resulting dressing may be a tiny bit more green.

This dressing is best served tossed with crisp romaine leaves which you then sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese or a suitable substitute, if needed.  It will keep for a couple of weeks stored in the refrigerator in a closed jar.



  1. I love the vegetarian option - what a great idea to sub in capers

  2. Oh Yeah! I LOVE anchovies! Homemade Caesar salad dressing is the best!

  3. I adore anchovies and like to use them in a variety of things, like tomato sauce, instead of salt, since they add such flavor along with saltiness. And I've never found a store-bought dressing to rival homemade.


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