Yesterday, fresh off the plane from 24 hours in Las Vegas, I drove straight to the harbor to meet my mother and father-in-law. They brought sandwiches and bottles of water, and as we sat and watched Kid Two’s sailing lessons it dawned on me that the Santa Cruz Harbor is probably the exact opposite of Las Vegas.

As we walked, tracking the progress of Kid Two’s Coronado 15 out into the bay, my father-in-law told me he would be making dinner that night following his favorite Caesar salad recipe. Here is how he got it: one day, years ago, after thoroughly enjoying a tableside Caesar preparation in Carmel Valley by a server, he asked for the recipe. The server was very forthcoming, writing it down and giving instructions on the finer points of the prep. It’s the first entry into my “secret” family recipe file so I’m eager to post it.

This recipe stands as was written, but Grandpa C. said he adjusts to use an entire can of anchovies because that’s the way Grandma likes it. Looking at the recipe, I realize there’s lots of room for adjustments – I recommend starting with 1/4 tsp mustard and 1 crushed clove garlic and go from there. Turn it into an entree by adding grilled chicken, shrimp, tofu, or whatever floats your particular boat; whatever your twist, I’m curious to hear how it turns out:

Grandpa C’s Caesar dressing recipe:

  • smash 6 fillets anchovies
  • add crushed garlic
  • add dry mustard
  • add 1/2 tsp worchescester
  • add 2 tbsp wine vinegar
  • add 1/4 cup olive oil
  • add 1 tsp mayo

Tear the leaves of 1 head romaine lettuce, toss with dressing, and add a cup of croutons and grated parmesan cheese.