The 15th of March was known in Ancient Rome as the Ides of March – the famous date when Julius Caesar was assassinated.
As such, what other recipe COULD I post today but the finest salad recipe on this small blue planet? 😀
The Caesar salad is actually named after Caesar Cardini – an Italian immigrant who operated restaurants in both Mexico and the United States in the early 1920’s.
Cardini was living in San Diego but also working in Tijuana where he avoided the restrictions of Prohibition. His daughter Rosa said 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 on hand, which included romaine lettuce, an egg, Worcestershire sauce and a few other ingredients in his virtually empty kitchen. He added the dramatic flair of the tableside tossing “by the chef” and the rest is history!
I still prefer the drama of a Caesar tossed tableside and recommend you invest in a large wooden salad bowl to do the same for your guests. This is an old-school recipe that deserves respect and not a plastic coffin filled with chopped romaine, dried-out shredded Parmesan and some chemically-treated, shelf-stable “dressing”. Make it the real way and treat yourself to the noble truth of the recipe that conquered the world!
I have my own version of a Caesar salad, but in this case I will post the true Caesar recipe, as served at the restaurant in Tijuana that created it. The recipe was recounted to the writer of The Kitchen Buzzz blog and is reprinted in its entirety below.
Battle on – The Generalissimo
Original Caesar Salad Recipe (courtesy Caesar’s Restaurante Bar)
Recipe tested by Nancy Real of The Kitchen Buzzz (ingredients and text edited and clarified by Nancy Real)
Prep time: 25 to 30 minutes
Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as an appetizer course
1 head Romaine lettuce, dark outer leaves discarded
1 coddled, large egg
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (Grey Poupon® brand preferred)
2 ounces anchovies, broken up (2 teaspoons anchovy paste can be substituted) – JH NOTE: Ortiz brand Anchovies are strongly preferred
1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Juice of ½ lime
¼ teaspoon salt
Dash freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Garlic croutons, for garnish (can be substituted with baguette toasts) – JH NOTE: Homemade strongly preferred
Rinse lettuce leaves under cold water; spin them dry and gently pat with paper towels. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or more (this can be done the night before or early in the morning the day of).
To coddle the egg: set an egg in a 2-cup bowl. Pour boiling water over the egg and set aside for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large wooden or stainless steel bowl, whisk together the garlic, mustard, anchovies or anchovy paste, Worchestershire sauce, vinegar, lime juice, salt and black pepper until well blended; set aside.
Crack the egg – keep the yolk and discard the white. Add egg yolk to mixture in bowl, then slowly whisk in the olive oil in a stream until dressing emulsifies and all oil is absorbed. Stir half of the cheese into the dressing and reserve the other half.
Add the whole Romaine lettuce leaves to the dressing in bowl and gently roll them around until they are thoroughly coated.
Divide the salad evenly among 2 or 4 plates. Garnish each serving with remaining Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a few croutons.
Caesar’s Restaurante Bar
Revolucion Ave. between 4th & 5th St.
Downtown Tijuana, Mexico
Reservations from USA: