My salad dressings are always made the same way, with lemon, olive oil and salt. Sometimes I add a new thing here and there, but usually I stick with plain-and-simple. When we eat out, I often enjoy Caesar salad. I think Zuni Café here in San Francisco makes a tasty one. I remember that theirs is a little zippier than those at other restaurants. Somehow that sparkle of acidity makes me feel guilt-free as I always imagine it has less dairy. Ha, ha! I’m sure that I’m being delusional here.
Anyway, I left work the other day ready to make my own Caesar only to discover that we didn’t have all the ingredients I thought I needed. A couple of months ago we went to see an improv comedy show in Freemont with our friends Amie and Whitney. With improv theatre, there is no script and the actors react to one another’s speeches on the fly. It’s very creative and can be exciting. You never know what’s going to happen next, until it does. Very Zen, improv. Even the background music was improv, played by a friend of Amie and Whitney. Very cool!
Well then, this Caesar dressing is our improv show and my kitchen is the stage.
I didn’t have anchovies so I replaced them with fish sauce. I didn’t have regular mayo so I used vegan mayo. After adding all the ingredients I realized I needed more umami flavor so I added some miso paste to it. The zippiness comes from the amount of lemon. I used the juice of 2 large fruit. Don’t skimp on the lemon. Definitely use more if yours are tiny or not juicy. And don’t bother with bottled lemon juice.
zippy improv Caesar dressing
2 tbsp vegan mayo
1 tsp red miso paste
1 tsp fish sauce
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tsp olive oil
¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
Black pepper to taste
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 large juicy lemons
for the salad:
Romaine and Oak lettuces rinsed, dried and leaves tore into bite size (enough for 2 large portions)
Authentic Parmesan cheese to be grated at the table
Place all ingredients for salad dressing in a bowl and whisk to combine. Let rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes for flavors to marry. Place lettuces in a large bowl. Pour half of the dressing over, toss and taste it. Add more dressing or just serve it on the side at the table. Plate salad and grate parmesan cheese over top. If you leave the Parmesan out, which is fine, you will have a dairy free Caesar salad dressing.