Caeser Salad Shootout

Chris Kimball has two recipes for Caesar salad on his website, plus I have always loved my own recipe. It’s time to figure out which is the best Caesar Salad.

  1. Mark’s Version. Distinctive for it’s use of Balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, a diced shallot. It uses double the amount of olive oil.
  2. Chris Kimball’s Version. Uses Worcester sauce and skips the mustard. Also, uses the entire egg rather than just the egg yolk.
  3. Light Version. Uses “light” mayonnaise instead of eggs, buttermilk, and just 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Uses Worcester sauce and also includes the mustard.

Testing Methodology: Each salad used 1/4 cup of dressing (Except the light version used only 3 tablespoons of dressing; had much stronger flavor) and equal amounts of grated Parmesan and croutons.

Made 3 different versions of Caesar salad for a side-by-side comparison. All were good, but a clear winner did emerge.

AND THE WINNER IS: Chris Kimball’s version had the best overall flavor. I was skeptical that Worcester sauce would work; but, it offered all the boldness, and none of the harshness of the Balsamic.  Including the entire egg, barely cooked for 45 seconds, didn’t make a noticeable difference, since part of the eggs whites hardened and stayed with the shell.

HONORABLE MENTION: Mark’s version had good flavor, but uses too much oil, which muted the bold Caesar flavors. Overall, second place.

BRONZE MEDAL: I was very skeptical of substituting mayonnaise and buttermilk, but the Light Version was surprisingly good. It didn’t have a classic Caesar flavor, but the flavor was strongest of the 3 contenders. Having 330 calories per serving in a good (but not classic Caesar) salad is the main reason to make this recipe.

Matthew and Nico tasting the two classic variations. Nico slightly preferred Mark's version, while Matthew preferred Chris Kimball's version. They both stayed away from the light version.

While actually I made two new recipes, I am only counting it as one because it was part of a single dinner. The recipes are included as a comment.

Rating: 5-star for winner.
Cost: $3. For 3 servings, but plenty of leftover dressing.
How much work? Medium. Because I made 3 versions.
How big of a mess?  Low.
Start time 5:35 PM. Dinner time 7:00 PM.

5 Responses to Caeser Salad Shootout

    2 Garlic clove, pressed.
    1 Shallot, finely minced.
    1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    2 Sprigs parsley, finely chopped.
    1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    Juice of 3/4 lemon (up to 1 lemon)
    1 Egg yolk
    4 Anchovies or 1 1/2 teaspoons paste
    2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1/4 teaspoon of pepper
    1/4 teaspoon table salt

    1 large egg
    3 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 medium lemon
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1/4 teaspoon table salt
    8 grindings ground black pepper
    1 small clove garlic, pressed (1/4 teaspoon)
    1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste (or 4 flat anchovy fillets, minced)
    1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

    1/4 cup buttermilk
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
    2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
    2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 – 2 medium garlic cloves, pressed.
    3 anchovy fillets , rinsed and patted dry
    1/2 teaspoon table salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  2. Dan says:

    I love “shoot outs” Great post.

  3. lanier says:

    I’m really enjoying your posts. Thanks for all of your work. I’ve become partial to a Cuisine at Home Caesar dressing, but will have to give the CI on a try this week when I plan on salad with dinner.

  4. […] Chicken Caesar Salad I haven’t made Caesar’s salad since February when I had my Caesar’s Salad Shootout. With the beautiful weather lately I wanted to grill the chicken, so I added it to the winning […]

  5. […] Caesar Salad Last February I held a Caesar Salad Shoot Out, in which I tasted three Caesar Salad recipes side-by-side. Chris Kimball’s 1997 recipe won. […]

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