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Caesar salad

The Caesar salad is a traditional salad served in American restaurants, often prepared tableside. Many people consider it the "king" of salads.

It was invented in the 1920s (probably 1924) by Caesar Cardini[?], a restaurateur[?] and chef[?] in Tijuana, Mexico. There are several stories about the specifics of its creation, none of which can be confirmed. One is that it was created for a group of Hollywood stars after a long weekend party. Another is that it was for the Prince of Wales, who was stuck in Tijuana due to weather. Both stories say that Caesar had to whip something up from what he had left in his kitchen, and the Caesar salad is what he came up with. If one of these stories is true, or close to the truth, Mr. Cardini must have been inspired, because the whole is most definitely more than the sum of its parts.

Nobody seems to know exactly when or how anchovies were added to the salad, but they were definitely not in the original recipe.

Many people are concerned about eating a Caesar salad today due to the potential risk of salmonella poisoning from the raw (actually, coddled) egg.

Unfortunately in recent years the popularity of the salad has caused very poor imitations, often using tasteless prepared and bottled sauces, to appear at many medium quality restaurants, particularly chain restaurants in the United States. One must carefully interrogate one's server now to ensure an actual Caesar will appear at the table and not a poor imitation.

Recipe

Below is a typical recipe, of which there are many variations. The dressing can be made thinner by using less parmesan; the garlic and anchovies are commonly scaled back for a milder taste. Chunks of avocado and/or tomato may be added, and strips of grilled chicken are also common.

Ingredients:

Combine all ingredients, except for lettuce and croutons, in a blender. Blend to an even consistency. Combine lettuce and croutons in a large salad bowl. Add dressing and mix well. Add pepper to taste.

Addendum

As printed on the back of the Caesar's Bar business card (which has since closed in 1985, replaced by a Burger King):

The Original Caesar's Salad (for 4 persons)

  • 3 medium heads of romaine lettuce (chilled, dry, crisp)
  • 1 cup of croutons

  • 1 dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 5-6 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of croutons
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup of garlic-flavored salad oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons of wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
  • 1 raw egg
  • Freshly ground pepper

Arrange lettuce and croutons in bowl. In a second bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the lettuce and croutons.

 
It is interesting to note that this recipe contains no anchovies.



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