Caesar – man, salad or drink?

In fact it is all three.

The man, of course is known the world over as a Roman general and statesman. According to Wikipedia, he played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_Caesar

The salad, is also well-known and has become a mainstay for most North Americans who dine in a restaurant. When I was in my early twenties, I went on a quest throughout the province of Alberta to see if I could find the best dressing. The variations are endless and most chefs regard their version as a “secret sauce”. I grew up in a house that regarded Caesar salad as an event. Not a mere salad to sit alongside other more important foods on the plate.

I recently entertained a guest from Norway in my home town of Calgary and we dined at a classic Alberta steakhouse that offered table side preparation.The look of surprise and delight and satisfaction at the event of “his first Caesar  salad”, was quite entertaining.

After that meal, I knew that a revision of the recipe rattling around in my head, (a dash of this, a pinch of that) was in order. So here is our family recipe for your tasting sensation!

  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp Tabasco
  • ¼ tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 to 2 cloves of garlic finely minced
  • 1 container oil packed anchovies, (anchovies finely chopped and mashed)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, + oil from anchovies
  • 1 large head of romaine lettuce
  • 6 pieces of bacon cooked and chopped
  • 1/4 cup of Parmesan

Croutons:

  • 4 slices of french loaf cut into cubes
  • 3 tsp dried assorted herbs (oregano, parsley, basil)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt

For the dressing – (should start with a great wooden bowl) add the egg, lemon juice, mustard powder, pepper, hot sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire and garlic to a bowl and whisk until uniform. Slowly add the olive oil (s) and anchovies while whisking until the dressing is thick.

To build the salad, start by making the croutons. In a casserole dish combine all the ingredients and stir until the bread cubes are coated. In a 400 degree oven cook the croutons until they start to crisp, remove, let cool and try not to eat too many before making the salad.

In a large bowl add the washed and well dried romaine. Add about 1/4 of the dressing and toss well, you will probably need to add more dressing, but you do not want the dressing to pool on the bottom, so do not add to much to start. Add about half the bacon and croutons and toss again. Add the remaining croutons to the top of the salad followed by the bacon and the Parmesan. Serve promptly.

Unless you hail from Canada, or have wasted away a few hours on a bar stool in our fair land, you will not have had the pleasure of “A Caesar”. It is ordered like that. In a bar south of the border, you will likely get a very confused look from the bar keep. And if you get far enough to say – it is like a bloody mary, but clamato juice….you will be stopped right there – “clamato what?”

Again looking to Wikipedia it is quite an interesting tale about our distinctive cocktail. Not that any of that matters too much. It is a harbinger of good times ahead in the short Canadian summers. And oddly enough, we even put clamato juice in our beer! That same Norwegian couldn’t believe his luck to experience both the salad and the drink on the same trip.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesar_(cocktail)

Enjoy!

One thought on “Caesar – man, salad or drink?

  1. Very similar to our original recipe, which came from Sharron in the mid 1970’s. We thought we were so cool to have graduated from Iceberg lettuce to Romaine.

    The only thing missing in your recipe is the MISOB after each ingredient – Mash Into Side of Bowl. Caesar Salad took energy to make…

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