While the late 80’s and early 90’s saw an era of the Rubik’s cube, the first Opera Winfrey Show, an increase in gender roles for women and the first episodes of the Simpsons, to me it was the era of the Caesar salad. Although I was a small child I have strong memories of seeing and eating Caesar salads everywhere I went. One distinct memory is of always eating all the croutons, chicken and bacon out of my mothers salad and leaving her only with the lettuce and dressing.
Even though the Caesar salad has defiantly had its day to shine in the culinary world, for me it will always bring back fond memories with every bite.
Despite my personal fondness for this salad, I do believe it is still a fantastic salad to have in ones repertoire. The flavour combinations and textures never make it dull, not to mention the dressing, which could be a masterpiece on its own.
While there are debates on the origin of this salad and the original content I do believe that the key is in a properly made dressing. Once you have that under your belt feel free to add or discard the bacon, chicken, croutons, boiled egg or whole anchovies.
On the anchovy topic however, I will share an interesting point - the original recipe for the dressing does not call for anchovies at all but Worcestershire sauce which gives it that anchovy like flavour.
2 heads of romaine or cos lettuce
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup olive oil
4 slices bread cut into croutons
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1-2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Strip the lettuce from the stalks and wash and dry them carefully. Leave them whole and store in the refrigerator to stay crisp.
In a heavy based pan add a little olive oil, half the garlic and salt and heat until just warm. Toss in the croutons and cook until golden.
For the dressing, boil water in a small pan. Once boiling add the eggs and boil for exactly one minute and remove. (This is called coddling, when you cook an egg has only a slightly cooked egg white).
In a large bowl or food processor place the lemon juice, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and oil and whisk.
Just before serving arrange the leaves whole in a bowl, toss with the croutons, cracked black pepper and Parmesan. Lastly crack the coddled eggs into the bowl with the dressing and whisk to emulsify. Pour over the dressing and toss until each leaf is coated and there is not excess dressing left in the bottom of the bowl.
Garnish with your choice of already prepared ingredients and serve immediately.