A simple recipe for Caesar salad on its 100th birthday


It’s 100 years since the Caesar salad was invented, it’s said, on the Fourth of July at a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico. And it’s had staying power.

The original is credited to Italian immigrant Caesar Cardini, who tossed it in the dining room of his restaurant, Caesar’s Place, in 1924. Since then, the salad’s been flexible enough to accommodate a wide variety of toppings and ingredients.

My recipe takes its lead from an ingenious Caesar dressing created by Brooklyn restaurateur Frank Falcinelli. It relies on mayonnaise, which has cooked eggs built right in, so if you have concerns about using raw egg yolks in your dressing, your worries are relieved.

Even if you think you don’t like anchovies, you should still try a small amount, which gives the Caesar dressing its inimitable flavor. The only reason to leave them out is if you are vegetarian (and note to vegetarians: Worcestershire sauce also contains anchovies, so sub in some soy sauce instead).

Top this Caesar salad with some sliced chicken, a piece of grilled salmon or tuna steak, or some poached or grilled shrimp for a restaurant-y entrée. You could also roll it in a wrap.

CAESAR SALAD

2 cups day-old cubes of firm white bread (about 3/4-inch thick)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove (pressed through a garlic press or very finely minced )

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (depending on how lemony you like it)

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 anchovy rinsed and very finely minced or 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste (plus optional additional whole anchovies for topping individual portions)

1 garlic clove (pressed through a garlic press or very finely minced )

¼ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1 tablespoon water

4 hearts of romaine lettuce (or 2 full heads; rinsed and dried)

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Make the croutons, if using: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spread the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet. Mix together the olive oil, garlic and salt in a small bowl, then drizzle the mixture over the bread cubes, and toss to coat the bread. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the bread is golden and toasted. Set aside.

2. Make the dressing: In a blender or food processor, add the mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, anchovies (if using), garlic, salt, pepper and water, and process until blended (or just shake everything up in a tightly sealed jar).

3. Make the Caesar salad: Tear or thinly slice the romaine hearts and place in a large serving bowl (you should have about 8 cups). Drizzle about 2/3 of the dressing over it and toss to combine. Sprinkle the cheese on top and toss again until everything is evenly mixed. Add more dressing as needed, but don’t drown it. Leftover dressing may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Top the salad with croutons, if using, before serving.

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Katie Workman writes regularly about food for The Associated Press. She has written two cookbooks focused on family-friendly cooking, “Dinner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cookbook.” She blogs at https://themom100.com/. She can be reached at Katie@themom100.com.

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