One of America’s Favorites – Caesar Salad

February 23, 2015 at 6:24 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 4 Comments
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A Caesar salad

A Caesar salad

A Caesar salad is a salad of romaine lettuce and croutons dressed with Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and black pepper. It is often prepared table side.

 

 

The salad’s creation is generally attributed to restaurateur Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who operated restaurants in Mexico and the United States. Cardini was living in San Diego but also working in Tijuana where he avoided the restrictions of Prohibition. His daughter Rosa (1928–2003) recounted that her father invented the dish when a Fourth of July 1924 rush depleted the kitchen’s supplies. Cardini made do with what he had, adding the dramatic flair of the table-side tossing “by the chef.” A number of Cardini’s staff have said that they invented the dish.

Julia Child said that she had eaten a Caesar salad at Cardini’s restaurant when she was a child in the 1920s. The earliest contemporary documentation of Caesar Salad is from a 1946 Lawry’s The Prime Rib (Los Angeles, California) restaurant menu, twenty-two years after the 1924 origin attributed to the Cardinis.

 

 

A simple Caesar salad

A simple Caesar salad

The original Caesar salad recipe (unlike his brother Alex’s Aviator’s salad) did not contain pieces of anchovy; the slight anchovy flavor comes from the Worcestershire sauce. Cardini was opposed to using anchovies in his salad.

In the 1970s, Cardini’s daughter said that the original recipe included whole lettuce leaves, which were meant to be lifted by the stem and eaten with the fingers; coddled eggs; and Italian olive oil.

Bottled Caesar dressings are now produced and marketed by many companies.

The trademark brands, “Cardini’s”, “Caesar Cardini’s” and “The Original Caesar Dressing” are all claimed to date to February 1950, though they were only registered decades later, and more than a dozen varieties of bottled Cardini’s dressing are available today. Some recipes include mustard, avocado, tomato, bacon bits, garlic cloves or anchovies. Cardini’s Brand original Caesar dressing is somewhat different from Rosa’s version.

 

 

One of the most common Caesar salad variations, shown here topped with grilled chicken

One of the most common Caesar salad variations, shown here topped with grilled chicken

Many variations of the salad exist; for example, by topping a Caesar salad with grilled chicken, steak, or seafood. Certain Mexican restaurants may improvise on items such as substituting tortilla strips for croutons or Cotija cheese for the Parmesan.

Ingredients
Common ingredients in many recipes:

* romaine or cos lettuce
* olive or vegetable oil
* fresh crushed garlic
* salt to taste
* fresh-ground black pepper
* lemon or lime juice – fresh squeezed
* Worcestershire sauce
* raw or coddled egg yolks
* freshly grated Parmesan cheese
* freshly prepared croutons

Variations
There are limitless variations. However, some of the more common are:

* other varieties of lettuce
* grilled poultry (most often chicken), meat, shellfish, or fish
* capers
* Romano cheese
* anchovies
* bacon

 

 

 

There is inherent risk of infection by salmonella bacteria occasionally found in raw egg from cracked or improperly washed eggshells. This is a concern with many similar dressings that are emulsified with eggs, though generally the pH level is thought to be acidic enough to kill those bacteria. Nevertheless, later versions of the recipe call at least for briefly cooked coddled eggs or pasteurized eggs. Recipes may omit the egg and produce a “Caesar vinaigrette”. Many variations of this salad exist; yogurt is sometimes substituted for the eggs to maintain a creamy texture and others call for using mayonnaise, oil and vinegar.

 

4 Comments »

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  1. Definitely my favorite salad!

  2. Love it, even all the variations.

    • Love the anchovies when added.


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