Caesar Salad

When you think of July 4th what comes to mind, fireworks, picnics, Independence Day, red, white and blue?  Well, how about Caesar Salad?  NO?  Don’t feel bad.  It wasn’t until I came across a website for the JNA Culinary Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that I learned that July 4th is also Caesar Salad Day.

This recipe is very close to the original version created in 1924 by Caesar Cardini, an Italian restaurateur in Tijuana, Mexico.  That’s right; the salad is named after its creator, a Chef, not Julius Caesar of the famed Roman Empire.

Serving Size: 4
Preparation Time: 0:20

Ingredients
1 large head romaine lettuce
1 cup olive oil
3 cups French bread
2 large cloves garlic
8 anchovy filets
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh is best)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon coarse ground salt
2 egg yolks for large eggs — at room temperature*
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese — shredded or shaved

Preparation:
Trim the romaine lettuce of bruised or browned leaves, then cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Wash and drain the lettuce, pat it dry and refrigerate for 30 minutes to crisp the leaves.
To make the croutons, cut the bread into cubes, heat the 1/2 cup olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Fry the bread cubes in the oil, tossing frequently, until they’re crisp and golden. Drain the croutons on a paper towel until ready to use.
Peel the garlic cloves then put in a large wooden salad bowl. Mash the cloves against the sides of the bowl with the back of a wooden spoon. Rub the pieces against the bowl until they begin to disintegrate. Remove most of the mashed garlic from the bowl and discard (oil from the garlic will remain in the bowl and flavor the salad). Add the anchovies and repeat the procedure you used with the garlic, but leave the anchovy pieces in the bowl. Now add the dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, black pepper, and egg yolks and blend well. Slowly drizzle in the remaining olive oil mixing with a wire whisk until a creamy mayonnaise type dressing forms. Add the lettuce, croutons, Parmesan cheese and salt. Toss everything together and serve directly from the salad bowl!

*Note:  The original recipe may have called for coddled whole eggs (warmed to 120F degrees, to coddle simmer in water 1 minute and cool in cold water) so they are soft and runny. Some chefs who make this salad today use the whole egg at room temperature.

**Sautéed or steamed vegetables, chicken and shrimp may be added if you like! Simply cook them in a separate pan and add them to the top of the salad. This will create more of a lunch or dinner portion entree.

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