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How To Make Caesar Salad

Contrary to popular belief, the Roman dictator Gaius Julius Caesar did not invent nor ever ate Caesar salad. In reality, Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who operated restaurants in Mexico and the United States, first made his mega-popular salad in 1924, in Tijuana, Mexico.

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Legend has it that this happened on the Fourth of July, the Independence Day of the United States. There were so many customers at his restaurant Caesar’s that the kitchen ran out of supplies. Cardini made do with what he had, whipping up the salad we know and love today.

The improvised dish rapidly gained so much acclaim that in 1953, the Epicurean Society in Paris named the Caesar salad as “the best recipe that has appeared in America in 50 years.”

Ease of preparation, an excellent combination of products, and a great sauce based on eggs and spices (now sold under the name “Caesar Cardini Sauce”) have made Caesar salad a must-have item on the menu of fancy restaurants and home festivities.

Today, many chefs are tweaking the recipe and coming up with their own versions of the beloved classic. Some add meat (bacon, ham, chicken), others add seafood (shrimp, herring fillets, anchovies). Interestingly, Rosa Cardini, the daughter of the famous chef, claims that he never added anchovies to his salad.

At the same time, such a free interpretation of the traditional recipe leads to a little bit of a problem. Under the guise of the classic salad, an establishment can serve pretty much anything to the unsuspecting client. For example, mayonnaise mixed with ketchup and an ordinary cabbage.

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To help you avoid misunderstandings, Cook It will share with you a recipe close to the authentic and discuss the peculiarities of preparing Caesar salad.

How To Make Caesar Salad

1. Dressing

The consistency of the dressing is similar to that of runny mayonnaise. You can, of course, use mayonnaise; however, your salad will not at all resemble the one that has earned worldwide recognition.

To make the perfect dressing, first, you need to rub the walls of a bowl in with a garlic clove. Let us dwell separately on the method of preparing eggs for the sauce.

As Cardini bequeathed, make a small hole in the dull side of the egg and dip it in boiling water for literally 30 seconds, then crack it into the prepared bowl. This procedure will heat the egg white, making it a little more viscous. If your sauce turns out on the runny side, add a few grated boiled eggs to it.

2. Lettuce

Caesar Cardini’s recipe featured romaine lettuce, said to be the crispest lettuce in the world. Today, most chefs give preference to iceberg lettuce or leaf lettuce, but using cabbage is taking it too far.

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3. Croutons

To make croutons, use white bread, preferably a baguette. Cut it into cubes and roast them in the oven or fry in a pan with olive oil and garlic. In any case, croutons should have only a bit of soft crunch, so never use old and stale ones.

4. Chicken Fillet

Beat the chicken fillet well, and then cut it into thin strips against the fibers. Season with salt and pepper, and fry on both sides over high heat.

Take care not to overcook and dry out the chicken. The finished fillet should be juicy and tender, which will have a positive effect on the taste of the salad. Allow the fillets to cool for 5 minutes before assembling the salad; otherwise, lettuce might wither next to hot meat.

5. Presentation

The dish demands a distinct presentation. First, distribute the lettuce on a plate, place the slices of chicken fillet in the center, and eggs and tomatoes around the edges. Conversely, you can serve a large platter with the salad and some small separate bowls with croutons, chicken, or shrimp.

However, other options are also acceptable. Culinary experts joke that there are more recipes for Caesar salad and ways of serving it than there were Caesars in Italy.

Caesar Salad With Chicken, Cherry Tomatoes, and Quail Eggs

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Ingredients:

For the Salad:

  • 3 ½ oz (100 g) romaine lettuce
  • 14 oz (400 g) chicken fillet
  • ⅔ oz (20 g) Parmesan
  • 5 quail eggs
  • 2 oz (60 g) cherry tomatoes
  • 5 oz (150 g) baguette

For the Dressing:

  • 1 egg
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic

Instructions:

  1. To begin with, wash and dry the lettuce leaves.
  2. Cut the baguette into small cubes.
  3. Heat olive oil in a frying pan, add a few garlic cloves, let them brown, and remove.
  4. Fry the bread cubes in the fragrant oil until golden brown.
  5. Boil quail eggs for 4–5 minutes. Cool them in cold water, then shell them and cut into halves. Cut cherry tomatoes into halves, as well.
  6. Hold a chicken egg for 20-30 seconds in a cup of boiling water, then transfer it to cold water.
  7. Rub the walls of a bowl in with a garlic clove. Crack the egg into the bowl, add mustard, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, lemon juice (lime juice in the authentic recipe). Whisk until smooth, give it a taste, and season with salt if necessary. Add chopped garlic.
  8. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a plate, then add the rest of the ingredients. Finally, drizzle with the sauce and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.
  9. Caesar salad with chicken and cherry tomatoes is ready. Enjoy your meal!

Caesar Salad With Shrimp

© DepositPhotos

Ingredients:

For the Salad:

  • 1 bunch romaine lettuce
  • a few cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 10-12 tiger shrimp
  • ½ baguette
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt, ground black pepper to taste

For the Dressing:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • juice from ¼ lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • salt, ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Finely grate a garlic clove and divide the mass into two equal parts.
  2. Peel the shrimp. Mix a spoonful of olive oil with half the garlic mass, salt, and pepper, and drizzle the shrimp with the mixture.
  3. Cut the baguette into cubes and dry them in the oven for 10 minutes at 355 °F.
  4. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan, heat the remaining grated garlic, and fry the croutons in this garlic-infused oil. Season them with salt and pepper, then remove the pan from the heat.
  5. Crush or grate another garlic clove and crush the anchovy fillets with a fork into a smooth paste.
  6. Whisk the yolk with lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and, gradually adding a little olive oil and continuing to whisk, make a sauce resembling mayonnaise. Finally, add garlic and anchovies to the sauce: the finished dressing should be slightly sour and spicy.
  7. Preheat a frying pan and quickly fry the shrimp in the same oil in which they were marinated.
  8. Combine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and croutons in a bowl, season with the dressing, stir well, and transfer to plates. Finally, place the fried shrimp on top and, if desired, sprinkle the salad with grated Parmesan.
  9. Voila! Caesar salad with shrimp is ready. Enjoy!

Crispy romaine lettuce, toasted croutons, the signature sauce, and delicious Parmesan — the combination of all these ingredients makes Caesar salad the dish that millions of customers with a wide variety of tastes order every day in cafes and restaurants.

Amazingly, everyone likes it for their own reasons. Perhaps this is the secret of the popularity of the classic salad. We hope that you found our tips and recipes useful! Please share your feedback in the comments — we’d love to know.

Valerie

I am an English major with a love of languages and fiction, and with an incurable travel bug. In my free time, I read fantasy, drink copious amounts of coffee, and like to go see movies. Culinary art means everything to me. My main hypostasis is the taster, though. The music school has taught me to appreciate the symphony of airy meringues, to create harmonious overtures of light snacks, hard rock of meat, fish, and vegetables on the grill. Choir classes have accustomed me to hear and feel the people nearby and create perfect harmonies of sounds.

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