Caesar Salad was invented on the 4th of July by a man named Cesare Cardini.
On the year 1924, the Italian American restaurateur ran its business in Tijuana, Mexico, to escape the madness of Prohibitionism. Having run out of food for the weekend, Mr. Cesare ingeniously crafted a daily special using olive oil, eggs, romaine lettuce and bread for his hungry customers. The dish became an instant success and was exported to the US as the Caesar Salad we know today.
Here’s the recipe for the Authentic Caesar Salad according to the memory of Rosa, daughter of Cesare Cardini.
Ingredients for 4 servings
– 100 ml (about 1/2 cup) of extra virgin olive oil;
– 4 cloves of garlic;
– 1/2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce;
– the juice of 1 big lime or 2 small ones;
– 2 medium sized free-range eggs;
– 1/2 tsp of salt;
– 1/2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper;
– 100 gr (3.5 oz) of aged Parmigiano Reggiano cheese;
– 300 gr (10.5 oz) of Italian Rustic bread;
– 400 gr (14 oz) of Romaine lettuce.
1. Coddling the eggs
Take the eggs out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before preparation, so they comfortably reach room temperature. Boil 2 cups of water in a kettle and have 2 coffee mugs ready.
Place one egg in a mug and cover with boiling water. Leave it soaked for 1 minute, then rinse and place in ice cold water to stop the cooking process.
Repeat the procedure with the second one.
You will need the coddled eggs later, to create the dressing for your Caesar Salad.
2. Preparing the base
Pour the lime juice in a large bowl, preferably wooden, add black pepper, salt, 3 grated cloves of garlic and the Worcestershire sauce.
Blend all the ingredients together in a homogenous mixture.
Break in the coddled eggs and whisk everything together.
Pour the extra virgin olive oil in a thin stream and whisk energetically to create an emulsion. Taste the dressing and season accordingly.
You may have to sprinkle some more salt and pepper, or a couple more drops of Worcestershire sauce, until you detect a slight flavour of anchovies.
Wash the lettuce in cold water and detach the leaves one by one.
Do not tear them and remove any that are not in good shape. You may want to discard the central yellow core of the Romaine lettuce, for it has a less pleasant taste.
Once all the leaves are ready, pat dry them with a clean kitchen towel.
Prepare a mixture with 2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and grated garlic, you will need it to season your croutons. Cut the rustic bread into 2×2 cm (0.7×0.7 inch) cubes, including the crust. Grill them in a hot oven for 10 minutes or until golden.
Take them out of the oven, spread the garlic and olive oil mixture on each cube, using a spoon or a kitchen brush. Then put the tray back on the grill just for a minute more to marry the flavours, making sure the garlic does not burn.
Shave a piece Parmigiano Reggiano, no younger than 22 months, with a sharp knife or a special cheese scraper. The goal is to have plenty of chunky shavings you will generously scatter on top of the salad at the end.
Assembling the Caesar Salad
Once the ingredients are ready it’s time to assemble your Caesar Salad.
Place the Romaine lettuce leaves in the wooden bowl and gently toss with two wooden spoons. Use a repetitive movement to gradually mix the lettuce and the dressing, so that every leaf is properly dipped and well seasoned.
As a final step, profusely scatter the bread croutons and the Parmigiano shavings over the salad and…serve your authentic Caesar Salad at once!