Author Jean Morrison
The salad was created back in the early 1920's by Italian chef Caesar Cardini at his restaurant in Tijuana in Mexico. It wasn't named after Julius Caesar as some people think. The story goes that Caesar Cardini had to quickly concoct a salad from limited ingredients. He actually used a coddled egg in his dressing and that is the correct way of making it . To make my easy recipe the coddled egg is replaced by mayonnaise. The advantage of using mayonnaise in lieu of coddled egg is that the dressing keeps better. In the authentic recipe the egg is barely coddled - it is essentially raw! Raw eggs have to be dealt with carefully. The quantity of dressing I make here really is too much for a Caesar side salad for 6 - 8 people so I save the extra dressing to use in a couple of days time, or if you are a piggy like me, you pour some of the extra dressing over your own plate. I make a whole meal version of this salad here Caesar Salad Meal by adding diced bacon, diced cold meat and cucumber. When I make this full meal version then it is easy to use up the extra dressing as it coats itself around the bacon and meat.
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Quantity: Serves 8 as a side salad
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2 large slices bread, cubed
1 and 1/2 tablespoons oil
1 clove garlic
3 anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
Good pinch of salt
Pepper if liked
1/2 cup good quality virgin olive oil
200 gm mixed lettuce leaves
Extra 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
Pre heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Place the bread cubes in a small basin and sprinkle over the oil. Toss the bread cubes to coat them as evenly as possible. Place them on an oven tray and bake for 12 - 15 minutes until they are crisp and lightly golden. Set aside.
Chop the garlic very finely. Place the anchovies on top of the garlic on the cutting board and continue chopping and squishing until the two ingredients become paste-like. Place in a small bowl.
Add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Whisk together until well combined. Slowly drizzle the oil into the mix, whisking at the same time. It pays to have a non slip mat under the bowl at this point (or a third hand if you happen to have one :)
Place rinsed and well dried, torn lettuce leaves in a large bowl. Pour over as much dressing as desired. Try using half, toss it and then decide if you need more. Quickly toss in the croutons and mix well. Sprinkle the extra parmesan on the top and serve immediately. Serves about 8 people as a side salad.
I have ordinary olive oil in my pantry but in my fridge I have a small bottle of what I call my "special quality extra virgin olive oil". I only use this special olive oil for dishes like this Caesar Salad. A good quality oil really does an add extra dimension to a dressing like this one.
This really does make quite a lot of dressing so don't tip the whole lot in - use your discretion.
I've sometimes used crusts to make the croutons.
Olive oil is made from pressing tree-ripened green olives. Almost the entire production of green olives in Italy is converted into olive oil. Due to different olive varieties there are variances in the flavour, consistency and colour of olive oil. Some olive oils are prized much like vintage wine.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is produced by the first pressing of the olives and have less than 1% acidity.
Virgin Olive Oil is produced from olives that are slightly riper than the ones used to make extra virgin oil. It has 1.5% acidity rating.
Refined Olive Oil has a natural acidity of greater than 3.3% and it doesn't have a great flavour or odour.
Pure Olive Oil is produced either from the second pressing of the olives or from the chemical extraction of the olive mash left after the first pressing. It is light in colour and bland in comparison to extra virgin oil. This is a general purpose oil.
Olive oils with the word Pomace in the title are not good quality and are not recommended by olive oil experts.
Light and Extra Light Olive Oils contain the same number of calories as regular olive oil.
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