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Salad dressing reviews

If you have the basics, making your own salad dressing can be quick and easy.
 
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05.Caesar dressings

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Egg yolks are the creamy base for a Caesar dressing and Parmesan cheese (or Parmigiano Reggiano) is a key ingredient. It can be grated and mixed through the dressing and/or shaved over the dressed salad. 

Typical background flavours of this dressing include garlic, anchovy fillet, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Olive oil acts as the emulsifier, blending all the ingredients together. 

Only the Paul Newman’s Own Caesar and Cardini’s The Original Caesar Dressing use anchovies in their formulation – garlic, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice are more commonly used ingredients across all dressings.

Our findings

Once again, all the Caesar dressings on test get red lights for sodium; a 50ml serving of the Michaels Fine Foods Caesar Dressing will give you enough sodium for the day (the Adequate Intake is 460mg-920mg of sodium per day). Bear in mind, that its recommended serving size is twice that of most of the others on test. Only two, from Kraft and Praise get the green light for total and saturated fat.

In our taste test we found:

  • The only fat-free alternatives in the bunch (from Kraft and Praise) didn't score well among our tasters, ranking them at the bottom of the list.
  • Beerenberg Creamy Parmesan Caesar Dressing and Paul Newman’s Own Creamy Caesar were the favorites among our tasting panel, followed closely by the cheapest in the group Coles Caesar Dressing with Garlic and Parmesan Cheese.
  • As you would expect, dressings that were described as having a “creamy” texture tended to receive higher overall scores followed by other descriptors like “herb” and “smooth”.
  • Dressings that were described as “oily/greasy”, “bitter” or “gritty” gathered lower overall scores.
  • You expect a Caesar dressing to be creamy however only three per cent of triallists described the texture of the Paul Newmans Own Caesar this way. For this reason it ranked significantly lower for texture than other dressings - one triallist commented that it’s “like a vinaigrette – not creamy at all.” Instead, 90% said it’s “oily/greasy”, with some saying it’s “too oily.”

Caesar dressing recipe

This dressing is slightly more complex to make from scratch, but once you have all the ingredients putting it together can be a breeze. Our home-made recipe will cost you more than the supermarket dressings at $1.94. per 100ml; however it’s worth it if you’ll use the remaining ingredients in other recipes. Here’s Fiona’s recipe:

Ingredients
(makes one cup)
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 2 cloves garlic 
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 anchovy fillets
  • 1 cup olive oil 
  • ¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Cos lettuce, washed and dried (cut crosswise into 2 cm thick slices)
  • Croutons, fresh
  • Shavings of Parmesan cheese to serve
Method
  • Combine egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, anchovies and Worcestershire sauce in a food processor (you could also use a stick blender or hand whisk).
  • While blending slowly drizzle in oil until thick and creamy.
  • Stir in parmesan. 
  • Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Chill in the refrigerator before serving.
  • Pour over lettuce and croutons top with shavings of Parmesan cheese.

Note: This dressing should be stored for no longer than one week. This dressing contains raw egg so you need to ensure that it is refrigerated correctly if you want it to last the week. The lemon in the mixture helps to cook the raw egg but to get longevity out of the mixture you should use the freshest eggs and store correctly. 

If making by hand mash the garlic and anchovies and add water or extra lemon juice if the dressing is too thick. 

Nutritional information

This recipe contains per 100g:

Total fat - 58.6g  (red)
Saturated fat -  11.1g (red)
Sugars -  0.9g (green)
Sodium -  281.9mg (amber)

In comparison to the supermarket dressings, this recipe is the lowest for sodium and gets the green light for sugar. It's high for total fat and saturated fat, however this is also the case for the supermarket dressings that use oils as their first ingredient. You'll find that those that use water as the first ingredient have lower levels of total fat and saturated fat. 

 

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