Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hail Caesar Salad

Richard and I love Caesar salads. Every restaurant we go to, we have to try their take on the dish. And with a pretty basic lost of ingredients, it's amazing how many different ways there are to prepare it.

Just recently, watching Good Eats, we discovered where the famous salad came from...

Cesar Cardini, an Italian born restaurant owner, tossed the first Caesar salad at his restaurant in Tijuiana on July 4th, 1924. The restaurant had been unusually busy that day and many supplies had run out. According to Cesar's daughter, Rosa, he put the salad together with what was on hand and tossed it table-side to add flair. It caught on. Over the next 20 years, the restaurant, which relocated to L.A. after Prohibition ended, prospered and began bottling and retailing their dressing.

One of our favorite caesar recipes comes from Alton Brown. It contains a light, citrus dressing and homemade croutons.


  • 1 loaf day old Italian bread (of course Richard made his own)
  • 3 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, inner leaves only
  • 7 grinds black pepper
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 6 drops Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut 1/2 to 3/4-inch croutons from the loaf of bread and place on a baking sheet and put into the oven until dry but not browned.

Use a mortar and pestle to mash the garlic with 4 tablespoons of oil and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Strain the oil into a skillet over medium heat. Add the dried croutons and fry, tossing constantly until all of the oil is absorbed and the croutons turn gold. Set aside.

Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the eggs and cook for 1 minute. Chill in ice water to halt cooking. Set aside.

In a very large bowl, tear lettuce and toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with the remaining kosher salt and the black pepper. Add the remaining olive oil. Toss well. Add the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Break in the eggs. Toss until a creamy dressing forms. Toss in Parmesan cheese and serve with croutons.

Bon Apetit!


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