How to Prepare Great Caesar Salads
One of my favorite salads and one that I usually request when dining out is Caesar Salad. I remember dining at a couple of restaurants in New York City where they made the Caesar Salad table side with such flair and showmanship. Now you are lucky if they make the dressing from scratch.
History of the Caesar Salad
This popular dish was originally created in 1924 by Italian chef Caesar Cardini at his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico and was prepared and served right at the table. If you have never experienced "the show" that goes with table side presentation, you don't know what you missed.
What an opportunity for a waiter to show off his stuff, mixing and whisking to the delight of the patrons.
For those of you who are not fans of anchovies, you may be interested in knowing the original recipe for this salad did not include them. So when the waiter asks if you want anchovies on your Caesar Salad, tell him,
" No, I prefer Chef Cardini's original recipe."
What About Those Raw Eggs for Caesar Salad?
Although some recipes use a raw egg, a coddled egg will give the dressing a smoother, creamier texture. How does the Reluctant Gourmet coddle an egg?
Easy, bring a small pot of water to fast boil and gently place the egg into it and cook for 60 seconds. Remove the egg from the water and cool off under cold water to stop the cooking process.
You can buy a variety of bottled Caesar Salad dressings in your grocery store even one that has an photo of Chef Cardini on it, but none are as good as making it yourself.
The recipe below is not Cardini's original recipe but one that was given to me by a chef in New York City. You can also buy a variety of commercial croutons, but I highly recommend making your own.
It's easy and the taste is far better than any crouton you can purchase. You can store the croutons in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one day.
Caesar Salad Recipe
For the Croutons
For the Salad
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 pinch salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1½ teaspoons anchovy paste or 4 flat anchovies
- 1 teaspoon capers
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ⅓ cup olive oil virgin
- 2 heads romaine lettuce outer leaves removed
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese grated
For the Croutons
- Combine garlic, oil, salt, and bread cubes in a bowl. Mix until cubes are coated evenly.
- Spread the coated cubes onto a baking sheet and bake until the croutons are golden. This should take about 10 minutes.
For the Salad
- Bring a pot of boiling water to boil, add egg and cook for just 60 seconds....NO MORE. This is coddling the egg. Remove the egg from the water and let it cool off. You can also run the egg under cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Meanwhile, mix the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic, salt & pepper, anchovy, mustard and capers in a bowl.
- Crack the coddled egg and add to these ingredients. Whisk until smooth.
- Now for the tricky part. Slowly add the oil in a steady stream while constantly whisking again until smooth. Reason: if you add the oil too quickly, the dressing will be separate and not emulsify.
- Tear the romaine lettuce into 1-2 inch pieces and add them to a large bowl (wooden if you have one).
- Add half the dressing, toss, add remaining dressing, Parmesan cheese, and croutons and toss again.
- Serve on chilled plates.
Please spell correctly the name of what you are representing:
Thanks for the catch - RG
To Cheri: There is nothing rude about informing someone when they make a mistake! I appreciate it.
To R.G., I love this recipe! It's my favorite Caesar Salad. I've been making it for many years.
You say caesar I say cesar...
I just loved the story, but more important the recipe is very good.
I made my dressing with the anchovy and It was great!
This was thebfirst time I stumbled upon your website but I will return soon to check out more of your recipies. Hope they all are good as this one is!
Ps might you wonder why you get so little response.....this captcha is a real challenge
This recipe is as good as my uncle's, who used to work in a fancy restaurant. I've been making it for a couple of years, and it never gets old. Thanks for sharing.
Love this.....first time ever making Caesar salad with my own homemade croutons. Lots of compliments....Than you
Thank you! Very good with balsamic vinegar instead of Worchestershire!
I have a recipe that includes red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, plus you only use the egg yolk, no white. Very good. I've never tried it with capers, that sounds good.
When coddling the eggs you say remove from heat and let cool off. Do you mean remove the eggs from water and let cool off or do you mean remove the pot of water with the eggs and let cool off?
Edna, it is my understanding you remove the egg from the water and run it under cold water to stop the cooking process. - RG
Most delicious !
I also used balsamic vineger great choice ! ! !
I blog often and I truly appreciate your information.
Your article has really peaked my interest.
I am going to take a note of your site and keep checking for new details about once per week.
I opted in for your Feed too.
Thank you for giving such precise instruction on the method!
an excellent recipe.
I've made this salad several times now. Every time I make it I get rave reviews--especially when I make the croutons, too. Never skimp on the garlic!
Perhaps this is a stupid question, but how long does the dressing last in the fridge? After making this my SO hates store variety caesar and I'd like to be able to make some and leave it in the fridge for a week or two.
Hi Sasha, I wouldn't leave it for more than a couple of days but that's me. I suggest you make as much as you need for your salad each time you make it because there are no preservatives in it.
Wooden bowl for sure:
For the salad: rub the bowl with the garlic ,then assemble the dressing and then the salad.
The Sea Wolf Restaurant, 41 Jack London Square,Oakland,California. -1951 to 1985.
At table only!
I think this site has very wonderful composed subject matter posts.
Stumbled upon this recipe while searching for the perfect Caesar salad, and I'm glad that I can finally call off the search.
Absolutely LOVED the result, the touch of capers is genius!
I enjoyed your writing, and will definitely start following your blog.
Thank you for sharing the recipe!
The Reluctant Gourmet
Thanks Talya, much appreciated. Happy Holidays
I live in Tijuana...I need to go to the restaurant where the salad was created
Thank you , sounds delicious !
Thanks for the recipe - I have had the original in Tijuana - created tableside - I don't usually eat mustard or anchovies... but the creation was fabulous. also the Beef Wellington is worth the wait
Do You have to exactly have dijon mustard or can you have another type?
The Reluctant Gourmet
Hi Jacquelyne, I like dijon for this recipe but you can try something else if you like a different mustard better. Over time you may try several different mustards to decide which you like best. Everyone's tastes are different. Let me know if you come up with one you like better.
This is not Caesar salad!
If you add ANY anchovies, beyond those in the Lee
& Perrins Worcestershire sauce, then it becomes "Aviators salad".
ALL true caesar salad dressings MUST be made into the romaine lettuce, and eaten on the spot. ANY "Caesar" dressings made and bottled are NOT Caesar salad dressings, including those marketed as "Cardini's Original".
The Caesar salad is a Mexican invention, created by one of Cardini's chefs, who's name I will not print here. I have the original dressing recipe, given directly to my grandfather in 1922, before he died in the crash of a US Navy airship.
I am in demand as a Caesar salad chef at friends' parties, etc. I am thoroughly addicted to CS and eat it several times a week.
For an addition to it (making it non-original, but really delicious) mix Asiago cheese to the Parmesan. NEVER use ANY vinegar if you want to keep it original.
The raw or coddled egg is a must. As in the true original (Not served the first night when Cardini needed quick foodm but perfected later), I let my garlic oil reprosaire for a few days before using, to improve on the flavor.
Always use Lee & Perrins Worcestershire sauce and Coleman's dried mustard.
I rarely use croutons, but when I do, they are homemade and cooked in garlic oil, with salt & pepper.
I love all the varieties of "Caesar" salad recipes, however, and I have tried all of them, including this one here, which is delicious!! Keep em' coming!!