A Susan favorite, Caesar Salad!!!!!
Susan is probably my biggest culinary fan and the fact that I made a Caesar Salad today and she wasn’t there to act as my taster is probably going get me into BIG, BEEG trouble. Her and The Man are known for dipping in to the dressing with big soup spoons no salad. Much like an American with a spoon and a jar of peanut butter in hand.
Caesar Salad was invented by Caesar Cardini back in the early years of the last century in his Tijuana Hotel. Being hit by more customers than expected on 4th of July and out of vegetables, Cardini was forced to improvise. At the time Americans weren’t particularly partial to salad, but with his table side salad tossing he created what would be a much sought after classic. He eventually moved his business to California and the rest is history.
I had my first Caesar in San Francisco in my very early 20’s. I had heard that the Caesar contained anchovies which gave me reason to pause before ordering. Was I ever wrong, I fell utterly in love. I can never eat too much Caesar. It plays on my palate like few other recipes. Tangy, garlic, savory, salty, crispy, fresh, creamy… It just leaves you wanting more.
A Caesar can be very difficult to achieve if your not familiar with how it is meant to taste. The truth is, it’s hard to find a true Caesar salad outside of the US. Many chefs think it’s enough that the dressing be white to label it a Caesar.
This recipe is NOT the Cardini original. I have tried his method several times and found it only came out bitter. So, I went after flavor instead, combining a couple of different recipes until I got the right flavor. The original dressing does not contain anchovies, but they do add a very nice flavor and is what you will most likely be served in a restaurant. You can easily omit them and get an equally gorgeous result.
Caesar Salad with grilled chicken fillets
1 Head of Romaine Lettuce whole or broken into bite size pieces
1 Lrg. Handful Shredded Parmesan
Handful of Croutons
1/2 Fresh Lemon squeezed
5-6 Anchovy Filets canned in olive oil, chopped
1 Medium Garlic sliced
1 tsp Dijon
1/2 Cup Cooking Oil
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
5-6 Splashes Worcestershire Sauce this is a necessary ingredient
Salt and Pepper to taste
Coddle the egg. This means you drop a fresh egg in the shell into boiling water for 1 min. Crack the egg into a deep bowl. With a hand held mixer begin to mix the egg as you slowly pour the cooking oil in to the egg. Iuse cooking oil as the base as the olive oil can leave it bitter, rather le<ving the olive oil to taste afterwards. When it begins to thicken you can stop. It should be thick, but still fairly watery. Then add the sliced garlic, mustard, worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and the anchovy filets, if you chop the filets they will mix better. Then whizz it all together. Pour in the olive oil and mix with a spoon to keep the olive oil from becoming bitter. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Be careful with the salt.
If you want a vegetarian version you can omit the anchovies. If you feel like it you can add a small amount of mini capris instead.
In a large bowl add your romaine lettuce, parmesan and a couple spoonfuls of the dressing. To mix put a lid on the bowl or use a dinner plate and shake well. This will get the dressing to evenly distribute over the lettuce. Serve it in a salad bowl with a couple of croutons on top or to make a proper meal out of it some grilled chicken breast.
Note: I didn’t have croutons or bread at home so I substituted it with sautéed sunflower seeds.