Caesar Salad

On Wednesday we looked at the genesis of the Caesar Salad. What happened next? After the end of Prohibition Caesar moved back to the US. He had realised what he was on to, and befoe long he was bottling the dressing it and selling it at Los Angeles Farmers' Market. His daughter Rosa, who went on to turn it into a multi million dollar business, remembers helping to bottle and sell it in 1938, when she was just 10

In 1953 the International Society of Epicures in Paris, a notoriously conservative breed, declared Caesar's invention as the greatest recipe to originate for the Americas in 50 years. Caesar died in 1956. Rosa took charge of Cesar Cardini Foods, Inc, patented the recipe shortly thereaftter and developed a highly successful sauce company which she sold in 1988. By 1990, it was estimated that in in 4 salads sold in the USA was a Caesar Salad

(Oy! this is supposed to be a cookery column - Ed)

Sorry. Got carried away. I should say that Rosa fierdely objected to the addition of anchovies. There are numerous versions. I offer you just two. It's very easy to adapt to your own taste.

The first comes from Caesar’s granddaughter Carla. She says that the original recipe used key lime, not lemon, but that the recipe was mistranslated. She also commented that most people use too much garlic. I actually quite like a garlicky hit. As you will see, the original is a version of mayonnaise, the eggs and the oil emulsifying. The second version is a (highly effective) cheat.  You can knock up the sauce in two minutes flat, one of these being taken up in grating the cheese and opening the jars of mayo and anchovies.

Caesar Salad (the classical version)


Romaine/cos lettuce leaves (left whole); croutons (slices of bread either rubbed in oil and baked till golden brown, or fried in a little olive oil); 4 eggs, boiled for one minute then refreshed in cold water; 3 lemons, halved; anchovy paste; about 120ml olive oil; Parmesan cheese, grated (the recipe I have calls for 1½ cups, which would be 150g – I don’t believe it. See the cheat recipe below); Worcester sauce; 5 cloves of garlic; salt and pepper.


Make the croutons first. Brush with some oil in whcih the crushed garlic cloves have been marinating for some time. Spread with anchovy paste. Put the leaves in a wooden bowl and season with salt and pepper. Strain the olive oil, and pour a small amount over the leaves. Crack the eggs over the leaves, add lemon juice and roll round to emulsify. You will have to adjust the amount of oil. Add 1 tbsp of Worcester sauce. Add the cheese and toss lightly. Add the croutons and serve.

I have never made this version. With the greatest of respect to Ms Cardini, I am deeply suspicious of this recipe. Instead, I commend my cheat’s version below, which will dress about 20 – 30 leaves.

Caesar Salad (the cheat’s version)


Romaine lettuce leaves (left whole); croutons (slices of bread either rubbed in oil and baked till golden brown, or fried in a little olive oil); 3 heaped dsp mayonnaise (Hellmann’s is fine); 1 clove garlic, peeled; 4 anchovy fillets; 10g grated Parmesan, plus more of it coarsely grated (use a peeler) to serve.


I stick with ordinary croutons. There's enough garlic and anchovy in my cheat's dressing. In a mini blender, whoosh the mayo, garlic, anchovy and Parmesan. Dress your leaves. Add the croutons. Top with more Parmesan. Serve. Simples!


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