Caesar Salad

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Caesar Cardini ran a popular joint called Caesar’s Place in Tijuana, just over the U.S.-Mexico borderline. Caesar’s was popular with Hollywood stars and San Diego socialites, and legend has it that Caesar invented his famous salad during one particularly rowdy weekend of revelry, when the restaurant was full and the kitchen was running short on supplies. The salad may have been an improvisation, invented in Tijuana by an Italian-Mexican, but in 1954 the Society of Epicures in Paris called it ‘the greatest recipe to originate from America in fifty years’.

Ingredients

  • ½ a medium loaf of sourdough bread, ripped into bite-size pieces or cut into cubes
  • 225ml/8fl oz extra virgin olive oil, plus a little for drizzling
  • Sea salt
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Juice of 1 good large lemon
  • 6 marinated anchovy fillets (from a jar), plus a few extra to garnish
  • 1 tablespoon French mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 heads of romaine lettuce, tougher outer leaves removed
  • 110g/4oz Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 4 eggs, boiled for exactly 4 minutes

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Pop the bread pieces on a baking tray, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and place in the oven until crisp and golden brown.

In a blender, whiz together the garlic, lemon juice, anchovies, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Then, keeping the blender running, gradually add the extra virgin olive oil and whiz until silky.

Tear the lettuce leaves into a bowl and pour over the blended dressing. Sprinkle the cheese and the sourdough croutons over the salad leaves, season with salt and pepper to taste, and toss gently with your (clean!) hands. Finally, just before serving, break the soft-boiled eggs into the bowl and gently toss one last time.

Some like their Caesar salad with a few extra anchovy fillets on top — but the anchovy in the wildly strong dressing may be enough for some, so check with your guests if you aren’t sure what side of the anchovy divide they’re on.

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