Buying gifts for any occasion for my newest roomie and boyfriend, Dave, always proves to be a challenge. He's a man without many needs and doesn't share my affinity for decorative tchotchkes, so I'm scratching my head each time to figure out something he will love. He enjoys any gift that is "utilitarian" as he likes to call it - needs to be useful and serve a purpose. Some gift's I've given him in the past included a Himalayan salt lamp, collar stays, a massive wooden Boos cutting board and oyster shucking gloves (to name a few) - all which he loved!
One of my favorite presents I've gifted him over the years was a granite mortar and pestle set. I already had the basic food processor and blender, but this brought something a little different as it required more hands-on interaction, which he loves. With the need for a new, exciting recipe to christen the set, Dave found a Caesar dressing to try after much research (his favorite pastime), which required the muddling of fresh garlic cloves with anchovy fillets to create a paste. The recipe he landed on was from Bon Appétit, which we've adapted and made into our own with some minor tweaks - a little more of this, a little more of that, plus the addition of Worcestershire sauce. Our tastebuds were dancing from the first time we tried it. We immediately fell in love with the creamy, tangy dressing, which was entirely made from scratch in a matter of minutes.
This recipe has become a staple in our weekly rotation. We serve it with lots of fresh, chopped romaine and grilled chicken breasts for a complete meal. Here's our take on the Bon Appétit classic Caesar recipe. It will yield a little less than two cups of dressing and can be made up to one day in advance.
- 8 anchovy fillets packed in oil*
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 large egg yolks
- the zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (zest lemon first, then squeeze for juice)
- 3/4 tablespoon of whole grain mustard*
- 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce*
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper + more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup of organic canola oil
- 1/3 cup grated parm cheese* (or any blend you prefer)
- In the mortar and pestle, add the garlic cloves and anchovy fillets. Smash together using the pestle until the two form a paste-like consistency. Transfer to a medium sized bowl.
- To the bowl, add in the egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and cracked pepper.
- Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking all ingredients together.
- While continuing to whisk, slowly drizzle in the canola oil. Adding less oil will yield a tangier dressing; more oil will result in a more mild flavor.
- Add cheese and whisk again until everything is fully incorporated and there are no lumps.
- Season with additional pepper if desired.
- For the chicken - marinate in canola oil (or another high heat oil), lemon slices, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Let sit for 30 minutes. Grill until cooked through to 165 degrees. Let sit for about 10 minutes before slicing to keep all the juices in.
*For all ingredients notated with an asterisk (*), ensure you are carefully reading labels and choosing a safe option, as many brands may have some sort of gluten within the ingredient lists.