The classic Caesar salad is certainly one that gets played around with a little more than it deserves. I've witnessed versions containing the likes of punky lollo rosso, marinated anchovies and even deep fried anchovies. Chicken on top seems to be the acceptable norm these days and it does make a starter Caesar salad into a substantial light main course, I suppose, as long as what's under the chicken hasn't been mucked about with too much.
Caesar Cardini would probably turn in his grave if he knew what was going into his original invention - which was concocted from what was in his fridge when surprise guests turned up in his hotel in Tijuana, Mexico late one night in 1924.
OK, I must admit I have cheated slightly here as the original recipe calls for a coddled egg (cooked just below boiling point) as the base for the dressing. Good mayonnaise, or even home-made, is a fair compromise and by the time you've spiked it with garlic and anchovy it makes a quick and authentic alternative without the coddling.
4 large individual crusty rolls or 1 larger loaf
2tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, halved
1tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
For the dressing:
2 egg yolks
1tsp white wine vinegar
1tsp English mustard
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
8 anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
50ml olive oil mixed with 100ml vegetable oil
Juice of half a lemon
First make the dressing: put the egg yolks, vinegar, mustard, garlic and anchovies with a little salt and pepper into a stainless or glass bowl on a damp cloth to stop it slipping (an aluminium bowl will make the mayonnaise go grey). Mix well with a whisk, then gradually trickle the oils into the bowl, whisking continuously. If the mayonnaise is getting too thick add a few drops of water and continue whisking the oil. When the oil is all incorporated, taste and re-season if necessary and add a little lemon juice. Set to one side.
Cut the top off the rolls and scoop out as much of the bread in the middle as you can, you can dry this out and use it for breadcrumbs. Cut the top into rough 1cm cubes. Gently heat the oil with the halved garlic cloves. Fry the bread cubes until they are golden, then drain them on kitchen paper. Season, and sprinkle with a little Parmesan while they are still warm. Tear the lettuce into pieces and put in a bowl. Toss it with the dressing and the rest of the Parmesan. Scatter croutons on top and serve immediately in the rolls.Reuse content