Not many of us are aware of the many fascinating stories behind our favorite meals. Especially not if that meal is as commonly ordered as Caesar salad is. This dish, however, has an interesting history.
The History of Ceaser Salad
Contrary to popular belief, this salad wasn’t named by an ancient Roman emperor. While each and every one of us has certainly made at least one Brutus joke while eating it, the fact of the matter is Ceaser salad was named after its creator, the chef Caesar Cardini.
Back in 1924, while Prohibition was raging all across the United States, Caesar opened a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico – a popular tourist destination (not least because the Prohibition did not reach its streets).
During one particularly busy 4th of July weekend, Caesar Cardini simply threw a bunch of ingredients together and served such a dish to his friends. The original ingredients, according to What’s Cooking America, were: garlic, romaine lettuce, croutons, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, and boiled eggs. Soon, the word spread and the meal was in high demand. Like many other legends, this story is difficult to prove, but it persists nonetheless.
Two years later, in 1926, Caesar was joined by his brother, Alexander. He was the one who added anchovies to the mix and named the concoction Aviator’s salad. This version of the meal became so popular that it was known as the standard recipe and was later renamed to Caesar salad.
No one was exempt from the wonders of the salad, not even the extraordinary Julia Child. In her cookbook, she mentions visiting Cardini’s restaurant. Cardini himself mixed the salad in a wooden bowl, right by her table. A child was surprised by the addition of two eggs in the mix, but, she notes, the salad was a sensation in the States, and even in Europe.
The International Society of Epicure even declared Caesar’s salad as the greatest American recipe in 50 years, way back in 1953.
Caesar Salad Recipe
6 anchovy fillets, drained of oil
1 garlic clove
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ of a teaspoon of Dijon mustard
½ cup of vegetable oil
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons of finely grated Parmesan cheese
Chop the garlic and the anchovy fillets together, and add a pinch of salt. Mash this into a paste (you can use the side of the knife to do it), and scrape it into a bowl.
Next, whisk in the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and the mustard. Then, gradually whisk in olive oil and vegetable oil until the dressing is thick and glossy.
Whisk in the Parmesan next, and season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste.
Now that you have the dressing ready, it time to mix it in with the lettuce and the croutons. What’s recommended is to mix with your hands. Gently toss the lettuce, croutons, and dressing until you’re satisfied with the result.
This is just one of the many ways you can make a Caesar salad. We, for example, prefer to make our Caesar salad grilled.
If you’re hungry for a good meal and want to skip the fuss of making it, come over to George’s, where you’ll find not only the most delicious food that’s ever graced your tongue but also the inimitable atmosphere of Old Hollywood.