Caesar salad is one of the dishes that has probably been mucked about with and abused more than any other, including by myself, which given that it was originally created with leftovers on the spur of the moment it would be hard to say that any version is truly authentic.
The inventor or the Caesar salad was Caesar Cardini, was an Italian immigrant who owned restaurants in the South West US and Mexico. It is said that on the 4th of July 1924, after a rush on the kitchen one night, he invented the salad with leftovers. However it wasn’t until 1946 when the first record of it existence came into being. Today there are many salads that claim to be Caesar salads or authentic Caesar dressings. The original Caesar salad consisted of Romaine lettuce, croutons, lemon juice, olive oil, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Over the years various other ingredients have crept into the recipe such as anchovies (which were actually part of Cardini’s brother Aviator’s Salad), bacon, cos lettuce, various meats, such as chicken (see below), capers, Romano cheese.
The original Caesar salad dressing
If you have time and aren’t concerened about raw eggs, then Caesar salad dressing is easy to make. However you can easily buy Caesar Cardini’s caesar salad dressing or there are lots of other fairly decent ones.
- 3 tbsp of lemon juice
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
- 5 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 egg yolk
- 0.5 tsp of red wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Add the olive oil, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, egg yolk, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper to a bowl and mix together, or alternately add the ingredients to blender to mix.
My version of Chicken Caesar Salad
My favourite version of a Caesar salad is with chicken, and I also like to add anchovies if I have them, otherwise some crispy bacon bits add the little bit of saltiness.
- Romaine Lettuce
- Croutons (I use left-over bread crisped up in the oven rather than frying them)
- Caesar dressing
- Parmesan cheese, grated
- Cooked chicken breast
- Crispy bacon bits or anchovies
Pull apart the lettuce into pieces and arrange in a salad bowl, add the chicken, croutons, bacon (or anchovies). Cover with Caesar dressing and the grated cheese.