Tell me what a Caesar Salad is:
A typical Caesar salad comprises romaine lettuce and croutons dressed with Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce, sardines, and black pepper originally prepared tableside. Cesar Cardini (Italian-born Mexican) is credited with creating the salad.
Ingredients according to the Hotel Caesar's recipe from about 2006:
romaine lettuce, olive oil, mustard powdered or prepared,
fresh crushed garlic - often in olive oil, salt, fresh-ground black pepper,
wine vinegar, lemon juice or lime juice - fresh squeezed, Worcestershire sauce,
raw or coddled egg yolks, freshly grated Parmesan cheese,
freshly prepared croutons
No Anchovy Please
Contrary to popular belief, the original Caesar's salad recipe did not contain pieces of anchovy; the slight anchovy flavor comes from the Worcestershire sauce.
In the book From Julia Child's Kitchen, Julia Child describes how she ate a Caesar's salad at Cardini's restaurant when she was a child in 1920s, and some 50 years later she sought out and called Cardini's daughter, in order to discover the original recipe. In this recipe, the lettuce is served whole on the plate, because it is meant to be lifted by the stem and eaten with the fingers. It also calls for coddled eggs and Italian olive oil.
The Cardini family trademarked the original recipe in 1948, and more than a dozen of bottled Cardini's dressing varieties are available today. Many other bottled versions are sold, too. Some recipes include one or more of mustard, avocado, tomato, bacon bits, or garlic cloves. Rochelle Low is credited with the creation of the "nouveau-Caesar" style by adding the hotly contested ingredient of anchovies to the dressing recipe. Cardini's Brand original Caesar dressing is somewhat different from Rosa's version in order to serve today's customer's and manufacturer's needs.
Recipe according to Julia Child's description of her 1970's telephone interview with Rosa Cardini
1/2 cup day-old bread, cubed
3/4 cup garlic oil*, divided use
2 small heads romaine lettuce
1/2 teaspoon salt
400gm of anchovies (it sounds like a lot but really adds flavour)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 eggs, coddled (boiled in the shell for 1 minute)
Juice of 2 medium lemons
8-10 drops of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Quote: "To prepare the garlic oil, place 4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and quartered, in a good quality (e.g. Extra Virgin) olive oil and let it stand at room temperature several hours or even up to 5 days."
Best Caesar Salad dressing (no anchovies)
A very forgiving recipe, with lots of tang and garlic to mask the absence of anchovies - everyone absolutely loves it. Adjust to suit your taste. The below makes enough to dress generously a bowl of salad for 6-8 moderate eaters.
Combine and process in food processor until thoroughly blended:
3 garlic cloves
3/4 - 1 cup mayonnaise
1+ tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp English mustard (dry powder)
2 1/2 - 3 tbs red wine vinegar
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 - 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Then add to the mixture in a thin stream while continuing to process:
1/4 cup light olive oil
Process until mixture is emulsified.
Fry some bacon up and chop it finely, also some french bread croutons, then toss the whole salad with the dressing.
Here is the Martha Stewart dressing
She adds mayo instead of raw egg.
dressing for 4:
2 cloves garlic
4 anchovy filets, washed and dried
1 teasp salt
1 teasp freshly ground pepper
1 Tablesp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teasp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teasp Dijon mustard
1 Tablesp mayonnaise
1/3 cup good olive oil
Note: If you do not like "fuzzy" anchovies out of a can, you can find white anchovies in your gourmet section (NON fuzzy and in olive oil) grab them.
In a blender put the garlic, anchovy fillets and salt and pepper. Whiz for a moment. Now add lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard and mayo. Whiz some more. SLOWLY add the olive oil as the blender whizzes. Store in a screw-top jar in the refrigerator till ready to serve. Before serving, shake in the jar like a martini.
Today, there are many variations.
A Caesar salad variation, topped with grilled chicken.
Many restaurants offer a more substantial salad by topping a Caesar salad with grilled chicken, steak, salmon or shrimp. Certain Mexican restaurants even improvise on items such as substituting tortilla strips for croutons and Cotija cheese for the Parmesan. Widely accepted, but unlikely to be original are mayonaise, variations of lettuce, chicken, capers, Romano cheese.
Many recipes even omit the egg and produce a "Caesar vinaigrette". Yogurt is sometimes substituted for the eggs to maintain a creamy texture. However, purists disdain these alternatives which do not use raw eggs, as "not being true Caesar's salads".
You may also be interested in these caesar salad products:
Romaine Lettuce: Romaine Lettuce is THE lettuce of choice when making a Caesar Salad. The thick ribs, especially on the older outer leaves, should have a milky fluid which gives the romaine the typically fine-bitter herb taste. Romaine or cos lettuce grows in a long head of sturdy leaves with a firm rib down the center. Unlike most lettuces, it is tolerant of heat.
Olive Oil Flavored with garlic is the oil of choice: Flavored oils add an excellent taste to fresh garden salads. Make your own homemade oils and use them in your cooking as well as on your salads. To find out how visit our Flavored Oil Section of our website for flavored oil recipes.
Croutons dressed with Parmesan cheese: A crouton is a small piece of sautéed or rebaked bread, often cubed and seasoned, that is used to add texture and flavor to salads, notably the Caesar salad, and as an accompaniment to soups, while some prefer to eat them alone, as a snack food. Making croutons is relatively simple. See Homemade Croutons Recipes.
Coddled Eggs: In cooking, to coddle food is to heat it in water kept just below the boiling point. The eggs added to a Caesar salad should ideally be coddled. However, coddled eggs are not fully cooked and still present a salmonella risk. One recipe calls for pouring boiling water over the egg and letting the egg and water stand for 10 minutes. If your afraid of the risk, substitute with 3 minute hard boiled eggs.
Sardines: or pilchards, are a group of several types of small, oily fish related to herrings. Canned "sardines" in supermarkets may actually be sprats (such as the "brisling sardine") or round herrings. Good quality sardines should have the head and gills removed before packing. Anchovies are described as fuzzy and sometimes replaced with sardines, or left out all together.
Grated Parmesan Cheese is a must in Caesar Salads: Parmigiano-Reggiano is a hard, fat granular cheese, cooked but not pressed. Uses of the cheese include grated over pasta, stirred into soup and risotto, eaten in chunks with balsamic vinegar, a key ingredient in alfredo sauce and pesto and grated on top of caesar salads. Many times used to season croutons for salads as well.
Caesar Salad Plated: This photo is a great example of how to plate a garden salad for a fantastic visual effect. We not only eat by taste but we also eat with our eyes. Use this photo to help guide you in plating beautiful salads at home.