Caesar salad is possibly the most famous salad ever. In fact, it might just be the king of salads, just like its namesake, Julius Caesar. However the Caesar salad is not invented in ancient Rome, it is not invented in modern-day Italy, it is not even invented in the United States. Guess what? It is invented in Mexico.
It was an Italian immigrant named Caesar Cardini who was said to have invented the Caesar Salad while he was working in his restaurant in Tijuana. During the rush hours on Fourth of July, the business was so busy that Cardini’s restaurant ran out of ingredients. He ingeniously improvised a new dish, which became the simple yet scrumptious Caesar salad.
Cardini’s success prompted him to centralize all his restaurant businesses, which was why he moved to Los Angeles. From there, the fame of Caesar salad spread to the world. The International Society of Epicures in Paris even named the dish “the greatest recipe to originate in the Americas in 50 years”! This truly illustrates the allure of the Caesar salad.
What the Caesar is composed of?
The general recipe for Caesar salad consists of crushed raw garlic, coddled eggs, croutons, romaine salad leaves, grated parmesan cheese, olive oil, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt, vinegar, black pepper, and anchovies.
It is difficult to find coddled eggs in most Caesar salads nowadays due to the risk of Salmonella bacteria infection, so restaurants often serve hard-boiled eggs instead. While anchovies give a punch of salty umami flavour, there are people who do not like the strong fishy taste, so it is not that common to see anchovies in Caesar salad as well. You might sometimes encounter the use of Worchester sauce in the making of Caesar salad because it gives a tang to the salad. However, the sauce is not always added to the salad directly. At some restaurants, a small bottle of Worchester sauce might be placed on the table for diners to add to their own dish.
In the era of salad bars and poke bowls, restaurants have jumped on the bandwagon of offering salads as main dishes. Consumers also have the choice of customizing their very own Caesar salads. Given the popularity of the Caesar salad, chefs have started improvising to keep up with ever-changing food trends and consumers’ tastes. Sometimes romaine lettuce is grilled instead of being eaten raw.
This bestows a new dimension of flavour to this popular dish. To give a creative spin to this well-loved salad dish, some restaurants have even substituted romaine lettuce with kale and curly endive. Diners can easily request for add-ons, such as grilled chicken, smoked salmon, bacon and shrimp, to make the salad more filling. This is also why the Caesar salad is such a great idea for a quick lunch. It is delicious yet healthy, perfect for those trying to watch their weight or wishing to include more fibre in their diets. For those who prefer hearty meals, pasta, grains or legumes are additional options that can be included in the salad.
With so many variations and endless possibilities, it is no wonder that the Caesar salad has withstood the test of time and established itself as a beloved dish throughout the ages.