Zuni Café Caesar Dressing

Adapted from The Zuni Café Cookbook, by Judy Rodgers

Rodgers calls for salt-packed anchovies, but I use Scalia brand oil-packed, which I steal from Delancey. They’re not cheap, but they keep in the fridge for a long, long time, and they have wonderful flavor. Before using, I rinse them well and dry them on paper towels. And about the quantity of kosher salt: a three-finger pinch is the amount you pick up when you pinch with your thumb, index finger, and middle finger.

Oh, and a tip for applying thick dressings, and for applying any dressing to whole leaves of romaine: keep a box of powder-free latex gloves in your kitchen. Spoon some dressing into the bowl of lettuce, slide on a pair of gloves, and use your hands to gently rub the dressing onto each leaf. You could also do it without gloves, if you don’t mind smelling garlicky for a bit.

For dressing:

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2/3 cup mild-tasting olive oil
About 1 ½ tablespoons minced and mashed anchovy fillets (from about 6 to 9 fillets)
About 2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 large cold eggs
About ½ ounce (15 grams) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt

For serving:

Romaine or other greens of your choice
Croutons or cooked farro, optional
Freshly ground black pepper

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, anchovies, and garlic. Add the eggs, the cheese, and lots of black pepper. Whisk to emulsify. Add the lemon juice, and whisk again, just to emulsify. Taste, first by itself and then on a leaf of lettuce, and adjust the seasonings to taste. I add a three-finger pinch of kosher salt, if not a little more than that.

Spoon as desired onto romaine or other greens, and fold and toss carefully to coat. Add croutons or cooked farro, if you want, and more grated cheese. Serve with a final dusting of cheese on top and some freshly ground black pepper.

Yield: about 1 ½ cups of dressing