Fascinating Caesar Salad History
Caesar salad is made with romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, croutons, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, egg, and black pepper. It is sometimes prepared tableside. Ancient Romans used to enjoy salads but Caesar salad is not named after Julius Caesar. Instead, it gets its name from Caesar Cardini, who was an Italian-born Mexican. He lived in San Diego but worked in Tijuana to avoid the Prohibition restrictions.
This salad was invented in Cardini’s own restaurant and hotel in Tijuana, Mexico, in the mid-1920s. Julia Child claims to have eaten Caesar salad at Cardini’s restaurant around that time. Cardini’s brand of Caesar salad dressing was first sold in 1950, after Milani, a competitor, began to sell his in the late 1940s.
Original Caesar Salad Recipes
The first Caesar salads did not contain anchovy pieces because Cardini did not like adding anchovies to salad recipes. Instead the anchovy flavor came from the addition of Worcestershire sauce (which is primarily made of anchovies).
Cardini’s daughter reports that the original recipe included whole lettuce leaves which were meant to be eaten with the fingers, as well as Italian olive oil and coddled eggs. Coddled eggs are eggs which have been lightly cooked. They might be cooked, slightly cooked or slightly thickened but otherwise like raw.
Some modern recipes for Caesar salad include tomato, capers, bacon bits, garlic cloves, avocado, or mustard. Some restaurants offer steak, seafood or chicken-topped Caesar salad recipes and some Mexican restaurants add tomatoes or swap the parmesan for Cotija cheese or the croutons for tortilla strips. Today Caesar salad is one of the most famous salad recipes of all and it is very popular in restaurants.
Caesar Salad Prepared Tableside
Caesar salad is often prepared tableside in restaurants, which means it is made for you at the table, and a lot of diners love this practice. Did you know that Caesar salad was made illegal in the late 1990s because of the raw egg it contained? The law was revised in 1998 and Caesar salad once again became a popular tableside meal. Having your Caesar salad recipe prepared for you at the table means you can see how fresh all the ingredients are, and it adds an enjoyable visual element to your meal.
Other recipes which are often made tableside include steak diane, bananas foster, cherries jubilee, steak tartar, crepes, and various specialty coffees. These items do not have to be made in the kitchen on a stove or in the oven, so why not get them made for you at the table so you can watch, if the restaurant offers that? You could even toss a Caesar salad on the dinner table tonight, so your family can see it being made. You will need to prepare all the ingredients beforehand and assemble everything you need on the table before you start.
Picture, recipes and/or content upgraded: 01-28-16
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