wondrous salad, with all its tableside showmanship by
waiters, became a sensation in America soon after its
invention. To many, including myself, this is the king
of salads. It was probably the first 'main course' salad,
and topped with chicken or fish is truly a main course.
Created in the 1920s, it has not only outlasted other
'classics' from the period but has grown in popularity
most likely, and most accepted, story of its creation
has Caesar (Cesar) Cardini, a restaurant owner and chef
in Tijuana, Mexico (sometimes referred to as an Italian
immigrant) preparing it for a group of Hollywood movie
stars, after a long weekend party in the 1920s. (Some
have pinpointed it to 1924; at least one story says
is was a group travelling with the Prince of Wales on
his tour of North America). Their departure was delayed
by morning rain, supplies at the restaurant were running
low after the weekend, and he had to whip up a meal
for the group before their return to Hollywood (or it
was late one night as some stories go). Created on the
spur of the moment with leftover ingredients. (Although
several California restaurants claim to have invented
it, few give credit to their stories).
original contained Romaine (Cos) lettuce, coddled eggs,
garlic, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, olive oil,
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, croutons, salt and pepper.
No anchovies. Almost everyone agrees on this. No one
really knows when the anchovies got in, but I feel the
salad is a little flat without them. The anchovies should
be mashed in as the dressing is made, so even those
who dislike anchovies will enjoy this salad. (Dry or
Dijon mustard and wine vinegar (red or white) are also
frequently added ingredients).
salad is best when made fresh: freshly squeezed lemon
juice, freshly mashed garlic cloves, freshly ground
black pepper, fresh garlic croutons, and freshly grated
cheese. The egg should be coddled, but a raw egg can
be used. Our slight variation here at Blue Heaven Restaurant
is to use key lime juice instead of lemon juice.
acceptable dressing can also be made using tofu instead
of the raw or coddled egg, if you have concern about
salmonella. This should be made in a food processor
to completely incorporate the tofu.
the late 1990's, Caesar salads were made illegal in
California, by a new health law banning the sale of
any food that used raw eggs as an ingredient. Presumably
there was a black market for the contraband salad.The
law was soon revised and the situation remedied in 1998.
recipe for Caesar
article is from Chef James Ehler of Key West, Florida.
is a webmaster, cook, chef, writer and (like me) a self-confessed
computer nerd. He is the former executive chef of Martha's
Steak & Seafood Restaurant and the former Reach Hotel
(both in Key West), the Hilton Hotel in Fayetteville,
Arkansas, and the New Bern Golf and Country Club, North
is now webmaster and cook at the Blue Heaven Restaurant
in Key West while he works on his Food Encyclopedia
(five years so far). It is well worth paying a visit
to James' food reference website which is a useful resource
well worth Bookmarking - to visit either website just
click on their title:
Food Reference Website
Blue Heaven Restaurant, Key West, Florida
James T. Ehler, 2001
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