Caesar Salad is named for an Italian immigrant to the US, who also owned a hotel in Tijuana, Mexico. His name was Caesar Cardini. The legend goes that in 1924 he once was in big shortage of vegetables in the kitchen on July 4th and tossed this salad together. His restaurant was full with vacationing Americans. The Worcestershire sauce was later supplemented or even replaced by anchovies and the lime was later replaced by lemon juice. The umami taste of the sauce goes well with the crunch of the croutons. The Parmesan cheese flakes further contribute to the rich taste of this salad. Other typical ingredients of the sauce are minced garlic, a raw egg yolk, olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Some further variations include the addition of fried bacon pieces or even grilled chicken breast.
The art of making Caesar Salad
Important is to use crunchy lettuce leaves. When washing the salad well ahead of the meal, store the leaves wrapped in a clean, moist kitchen towel in the refrigerator. Shaving the Parmesan cheese can be done ahead. Also the dressing can be made ahead of time. The dressing can be made off a base of a good mayonnaise. Alternatively, make it from scratch using a raw egg yolk, lemon juice, some honey and olive oil. Always use pressed garlic and anchovies in the dressing as well. Add the croutons and pine nuts, when using, just before tossing the salad. Use the pepper mill when served.
Making the sauce
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 6 tbsp sunflower, rape seed or olive oil or a mixture
- 2-3 salted anchovy fillets
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- a pinch of salt
- a squeeze of honey
- 1 clove garlic
- squeeze of the black pepper mill
- 1 tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup croutons (store bought; if self made see remarks
- 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
Making the sauce
juice the half lemon
Mix the egg yolk with the mustard, some salt, some pepper, the vinegar and 1 tbsp lemon juice
Add a squeeze of honey
Start adding the oil under vigorous whisking
When the mayonnaise is getting thick, make the anchovies small with a fork and mix.
Add the Parmesan
Check the consistency: this sauce should be slightly thinner than mayonnaise
If required add some lemon juice
Bringing the salad together
Shave the Parmesan by using a slicer/shaver and a hard piece of Parmesan
Mix the salad leaves, the dressing, the shaved Parmesan and the croutons, just before serving. You could toss it at the table as Caesar did for his guests
Food allergy & intolerance information: dairy
- I prefer to make the dressing fresh and from scratch. But second best is to start off from a mayonnaise base. For working from scratch, looking at the mayonnaise recipe may be useful.
- The anchovies come from my salted anchovies storage, but you can also take them from a tin. I always place them in a shallow dish with water for a minute and then dry them on a paper kitchen towel before using.