Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Caesar Salad

Pardon my ignorance but my first reaction to Caesar Salad has always been "Wow. It must have been Julius Caesar's favourite." And I have always been so totally convinced that it is Italian. So imagine when I mentioned this to a cook friend Sarah, She gave me a very funny look. How embarassing! If you thought so too, then let me save you the same embarassment.

I got this from a website a while ago but now I can't remember where the website is.

Most historians believe that Caesar salad honours restaurateur Caesar Cardini (1896-1956), who invented it in Tijuana, Mexico in 1924 on the Fourth of July weekend. It is said that on this busy weekend, Cardini was running low on food and he put together a salad for his guests from what was left over in the kitchen. His original recipe included romaine, garlic, croutons, and Parmesan cheese, boiled eggs, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce. The original salad was prepared at tableside. When the salad dressing was ready, the romaine leaves were coated with the dressing and placed stem side out, in a circle and served on a flat dinner plate, so that the salad could be eaten with the fingers.

In 1926, Alex Cardini joined his brother, Caesar, at the Tijuana restaurant. Alex, an ace pilot in the Italian Air Force during World War I, added other ingredients, one of which was anchovies, and named the salad Aviator's Salad" in honor of the pilots from Rockwell Field Air Base in San Diego. It is reported that Alex's version became very popular, and later this salad was renamed "Caesar Salad." Caesar was said to be staunchly against the inclusion of anchovies in this mixture, contending that the Worcestershire sauce was what actually provided that faint fishy flavor. He also decreed that only Italian olive oil and imported Parmesan cheese be used in the dressing.

So for us, Caesar Salad at home means:

Romaine as the main vegie, croutons, hard boiled eggs and the sauce made from egg yolks, anchovies, garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese and topped with some meat like bacon crisps or roast/pan fry meat if we are eating it as the main meal at home.

Once you make your own sauce and Caesar at home, the ones outside, unless if they are very well done, will actually look pretty miserable. It's sorta like my grass is greener than the other side. So don't try this unless you don't mind being stuck with making your own Caesar for the rest of your life like me.

Serve 3-4 as entree or 2 if you are eating as main meals.

3-4 stalks of baby romaine or about 250-300 gm of romaine, wash off dirt and sand. Break romaine into half or 1/3 depending on the size of the veg. For baby ones, just leave it whole.

2 hard boiled eggs, quatered to eight pieces per egg.

4 pieces of bacon, pan fry or oven baked without oil to crispy.

Shaved parmesan cheese.

1-2 pieces of plain bread, cut to cubes of 1cm
1/2 tbsp of butter
1/2 teasp of minced garlic

Caesar Sauce:
3 egg yolks
15 gm of parmesan powder
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/2 no of small lemon
3 pieces of anchovies, 2 if big pieces
1/2 tbsp of minced garlic
1/2 tbsp of dijon mustard
salt pepper and sugar to taste

1) Wash and prepare vegies. Prepare eggs. Crumble crispy bacon to finer bits or if your like your bacon semi crispy, then cut small strips once pan fried. Set aside to be assemble later.

2) Broil in the oven at 170 deg to brown the bread cubes to crunchy. Add butter and garlic when the cubes comes straight out of oven. Toss well & set aside.

3) With a small hand mixer or food processer, whisk up eggs to thick. Add half of olive oil in 3-4 batches in streams while continue whisking all the while. The eggs and the oil must not separate.

4) Stop to add the juice from half the lemon, followed by Dijon mustard. Continue whisking and adding rest of the olive oil in small streams and batches. Mixture looks creamy now.

5) Add anchovies, parmesan cheese and garlic. Whisk to creamy and even. Salt pepper and sugar to taste.

6) Add 6-8 tbsp of sauce to veges in a big bowl. Toss well. Divide into the portion required onto flat dinner plates. Add hard boiled eggs, croutons, bacon bits and shaved parmesan cheese. Crack some pepper over the top or add pieces of meat if desired. Serve.


Denise ^ ChiCkyEGG said...

" Crunch Crunch Crunch " !
I assume that was ur dinner? ;D
Hey I am a fans of CS.
IF I were brought to a restaurant, this is a must item!
did u have ur CS in London ??

Bento Pet said...

Looks absolutely delicious! My daughters and I love this. #2 makes this all the time for our parties.

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

we love ceasar salad too!

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