This salad was originally created in 1924 by Caesar Cardini at his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico and was prepared and served right at the table.
I decided for Mother’s Day to prepare an Original Caesar’s salad and therein lay the rub.
What was the Original Caesar’s Salad?
Most schools of thought point to the following ingredients: romaine lettuce, olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, croutons, parmesan cheese, garlic, egg and fresh ground pepper.
The proportions go along the lines of:
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves
1 head of lettuce
shake of Worcestershire
Variations include a can of anchovies (my favorite!).
Further variations include avocado, tomato, cashews, chicken and other things, perhaps a bowling ball. Who knows?
All cockfloppery aside, my Mother’s Day Great Caesar’s Salad turned out splendiferous and I’ll share the blueprint here.
First, I baked, not fried, the croutons in the oven by brushing slices of La Madeline bread with olive oil, sprinkling some salt, pepper and garlic powder and baking at 350 for about 10 minutes.
Next, I broke up a head of romaine lettuce into half-inch pieces. Into separate small bowls I prepared the olive oil, anchovies minced with two cloves of garlic, parmesan cheese, and fresh lemon juice.
Next, I coddled the egg by dropping a room temperature egg into boiling water for 45 seconds, then dumping the egg into iced water.
To prepare the salad I dumped in the olive oil, lemon juice, anchovies/garlic and parmesan cheese, croutons and tossed with great panache. Then I cracked the coddled egg over the salad and tossed until it was incorporated. Finished with fresh black pepper per serving.
I don’t know if it was the preparation of the salad at the table, or the fact that all the ingredients were fresh or that the croutons were baked or that the parmesan was Italian.
The combination was fantastic, the anchovies added some salt and the fresh lemon juice provided just the right snap.
I think I’ll try this again with some variations and I’ll check out using Worcestershire sauce instead of anchovies just for grins.
Personally, though, I love those little salty, oily fishes!