Of course an Italian dreamed up the Caesar salad. That he was an Italian living in Mexico makes the story more interesting.
If you've ever seen Cardini salad dressings on the shelves while browsing the supermarket, then you've seen the by-product of Cesare Cardini's original invention, the Caesar salad. It's said that Cardini's original recipe had no anchovies but relied on Worcestershire sauce for its distinctive slightly salty and savory flavor.
Since its creation in the 20s, the Caesar salad has seen numerous transformations with endless recipes available to try and to tweak. It's hard, if not impossible, to find Caesar salad made table side. Too many restrictions are placed on the use of raw egg due to the fear of salmonella.
Some have substituted coddled eggs, but I remain a purist and live dangerously, I suppose. When making Caesar dressing, I use the freshest eggs I can find and wash the shells thoroughly. Since hens lay their eggs through a "vent" or passageway shared by their intestines and salmonella bacteria is transmitted through fecal matter, this is a pretty important consideration.
Toss a head of romaine and you'll hit a recipe for Caesar salad.
There are updated versions with grilled chicken or grilled shrimp, and some like the one I made last night feature my favorite fruit, the avocado.
You may be hard-pressed to find a Caesar with egg or anchovies in restaurants, which I find depressing - almost as sad as the limp, overdressed salads topped with a few nondescript croutons that are passing as the famed Caesar.
Below is an eggless recipe, which is tasty, but really would benefit from the creamy emulsification created by the addition of a raw egg. But, in my house, we have one person is afraid of raw egg consumption, so we made this version to suit her palate.
Eggless Caesar Dressing
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of one lemon, about a quarter cup
1clove garlic, mashed
6 anchovy fillets
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
salt and pepper to taste
In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse until smooth. May be kept in the refrigerator for two to three days.