All photos by Susan Axelrod
Caesar salad is one of the little black dresses of cooking and Ted happens to make a killer one. It’s all about the dressing, really, which he puts together in the traditional, big-production-number style with raw egg yolk, Dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice, good olive oil, plenty of garlic and Parmesan cheese — crushing the anchovies in so their salty-rich flavor is evident without the actual fish being obvious. It’s one of those decadent dressings that takes a salad well out of the diet food realm.
But he was out of town working and there I was, staring into the refrigerator at the remains of an especially tasty roast chicken (a Maine-ly Poultry bird from Rosemont Market, stuffed under the skin with garlic butter) and a small head of romaine lettuce — thinking that a chicken Caesar salad would be perfect for lunch.
There was also half of a ripe avocado, which seemed like a good candidate for the creamy base of a faux Caesar dressing. I scooped the flesh out of the shell, smashed it up thoroughly with a fork and stirred in lemon juice, a little mustard, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Too lazy to chop the fresh kind, I shook in a little granulated garlic. The result was definitely green, but otherwise pretty darn close to the real thing — for a fraction of the fat and calories. This was key, since I’m still in post-holiday, cookie-consumption-recovery mode.
If you are too, give this fab faux Caesar a try.
Avocado Caesar Salad Dressing
Serves 1-2, depending on the size of your salad and how much dressing you like
1/2 ripe avocado
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped, or if you are lazy like me, a shake of granulated garlic or garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Mash avocado well with the back of a fork. Stir in all other ingredients, blending well. Adjust amounts as needed — you may like more lemon juice, for instance.