The first Caesar Salad I had was made by my mother. I can say with some certainly that my mother’s Caesar was not only one of the very best I have ever had, but also it was fairly authentic. She used, religiously the Julia Child classic Caesar recipe, which in my opinion is the only way to go. See Below.
Now I know there are Caesar’s all over the place. Every restaurant, café, pub, TGI McApplebees and alike has a Caesar. There are perhaps a handful of places to get a good Caesar. Any fine dining establishment that has tableside written in the menu is always a good choice.
The dressing is the critical component. One could call it a dressing, but really it’s the combination of ingredients that make the salad. So what I’m saying is, it’s not romaine and dressing, it’s:
18 to 24 crisp, narrow leaves from the hearts of 2 heads of romaine lettuce, or a package of romaine hearts
1 cup plain toasted croutons
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup or more excellent olive oil
1 large egg
freshly ground black pepper
1 whole lemon, halved and seeded
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese, imported Parmigiano-Reggiano only
Like a beautiful symphony, these salad items are orchestrated. You can go to the link and check out the directions for yourself. But it’s not a quick process. A good, fresh and from scratch Caesar is born, developed and loved into existence. And when you eat it, you taste the difference.
History: around the 1920’s an Italian restaurateur Caesar Cardini owned a restaurant in San Diego and after a Fourth of July rush wiped out much of the kitchen supplies, he made do with what he had in the kitchen but added the flair of preparing the salad tableside. Anchovy is often a typical staple of a Caesar and is a perfectly wonderful salty addition, but it was not part of the original recipe. He also used the tender inner leaves of the romaine, whole leave, so people were to eat it with their hands. But not many people wanted to handle a garlicky salad with their hands, thus hand tearing the undressed leaves became the new and preferred method.
The egg is critical! My mother always used a raw egg, which may have some people up in arms. However, I’m still here and seem to be alive and kicking, so simply use a fresh egg.
Serve a Caesar with a great steak and you have yourself a winning dinner. Ladies, I’m serious about this. The way to a man’s heart is with a properly cooked steak and a homemade Caesar! Isn’t that how the saying goes?