Last week I brought to your table, Spaghetti Bolognese. Oh how I do love this dish. Today we’ll rope in the opener for the perfect Italian meal, Caesar salad.
A bit of quick history creates an interesting story, here we go:
Caesar Cardini, an Italian American was in Tijuana, Mexico when he created the Caesar salad in 1924. The typical ingredients were romaine, garlic croutons, parmesan cheese, boiled eggs, olive oil and Worcestershire. Friends were enchanted by his wonderful spur of the moment creation. Then in 1926 his brother, Alex, came to Tijuana and added anchovies to the dish, this version became known as Aviator’s Salad.
The success of the Caesar salad in America is said to have increased the production of romaine lettuce in our country. My first ‘table-side’ Caesar was made with the raw egg in the dressing. Today we seldom see this application. The belief was the lemon juice and its’ acidity would kill the bacteria, from the egg.
Since 1924 multitudes of Caesar salad ‘versions’ have been created. If I’m having Caesar as the main entrée I enjoy strips of grilled chicken. Other complimentary additions include bacon, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs and green onions.
Another point of interest was the fact that the crouton was one giant garlic crouton on the top of the salad, not several small ones.
My recipe is extremely simple to make. You will need to acquire a tube of anchovy paste. This can be found on the canned fish aisle, at the grocery store. Refrigerate after opening. One tube will probably make as many has 8-10 dressing recipes. On the parmesan try using fresh. I like this better, but I know there are times where the only option is pre-shredded.
The dressing is a bit on the thick side so add a bit of half and half, if you choose to thin it down. Also consider using the recipe as a dip for vegetables. Promise, you will not be disappointed. The dressing should hold for a week or more in the refrigerator.
I guess after the spaghetti Bolognese and Caesar salad it’s time to reach for a loaf of French bread. Let’s not forget the dry red wine with an impressive Tiramisu or Italian Crème Cake.
This column is making me hungry. Tonight we’re enjoying beef stroganoff made in the pressure cooker. It is so yummy. See you later friends, I’m heading for the kitchen!
Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
Caesar Salad Dressing
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup black pepper
Romaine Lettuce, broken into pieces
Additional Parmesan Cheese
Croutons of choice
Whisk together olive oil, garlic, anchovy, lemon juice, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Blend well and then bring together with mayonnaise and sour cream. Lastly whisk in the parmesan and black pepper. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
There are many variations on Caesar salads. You can add various vegetables or serve the standard version. The dressing yields about 1 1/4 cups. Plenty for 6-8 persons.