Thursday, November 6, 2008

Caesar Salad

I was just in Mexico-Cabo San Lucas for our honeymoon and one of the nights we had dinner at the beach restaurant called "The Office". I was pretty surprised when the server mentioned caesar salad as a house specialty, and we decided to order it before dinner. Few minutes later two guys come by with a huge tray full of stuff, and at first I didn't realize that he was about to make their famous caesar dressing. It was like a mini show, anchovies, crushed garlic, egg yolk, mustard, parmesan, lemon juice, Worcestershire ... some tossing and turning, and few minutes later we had a plate of whole romaine leaves smothered in the best caesar dressing I have ever had in my life. And I didn't think anything about it, even though it was kind of weird that they would serve it in Mexico. All my life I was convinced that Caesar Salad comes from Italy.... so one day I decided to google it - and what do I find? Caesar Salad was actually originated in Mexico in 1920's. And the name does not come from the Caesar (emperor), but it was named after it's creator Caesare Cardini, who was an italian-born mexican. Cardini had a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico and there he invented this dressing. Romaine lettuce leaves were served whole and hand tossed with the dressing by the chef. Cardini family trademarked the original recipe in 1948, and made it widely available. Original Cardini recipe did not include anchovies. The list of ingredients according to the original recipe:
  • romaine lettuce
  • olive oil
  • mustard
  • fresh crushed garlic
  • salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • wine vinegar
  • lemon juice
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • egg yolks
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • freshly prepared croutons
I personally made the caesar dressing one or twice, using Tyler Florence recipe from his Ultimate book. I don't think I loved it as much as the one I had in Mexico. I am researching a good recipe, and hopefully it will be worth of posting it on Basic Taste.

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