Caesar Salad Recipe

From: (James H. Billen)
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1993 08:42:21 -0600

Ingredients for 4 large servings:

2 large or 3 medium cloves of garlic
1 entire 2-ounce tin of flat anchovy fillets
2 coddled eggs
1 cup croutons (see below)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large or 2 medium bunches of romaine lettuce
1 small lemon cut into quarters
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

These quantities are approximate. Experiment to suit your own
taste. For example, fewer anchovy fillets will make the dressing
less tart. You can vary the relative proportion of olive oil as
much as a factor of two to adjust the total bulk of dressing for
different amounts of lettuce with little effect on the flavor.


1.  Wash and dry the lettuce. Tear into bite-sized pieces and 
    chill until ready to toss. 

2.  Press the garlic cloves into the bowl. With a large wooden 
    spoon squeeze the pieces against the side of the bowl mashing 
    them into small bits. 

3.  Cut up the anchovy fillets and then add to the bowl. Mash 
    them with the spoon to make a paste. Add the Worcestershire 
    sauce, pepper, and mustard and mix into the paste. 

4.  Break the shell of the coddled eggs over the bowl by striking 
    with a butter knife. Pour into the bowl whatever flows out of 
    the shell halves. Discard the shells and the small portion of 
    egg white that still clings to the shell. Thoroughly mix the 
    ingredients by swirling the bottom of the wooden spoon around 
    the inside of the bowl. 

5.  Squeeze the juice of a lemon quarter into the bowl, add the 
    olive oil, and mix again as above. 

6.  Immediately before you are ready to eat the salad, toss the 
    lettuce in the bowl until the leaves are well coated with 

7.  Squeeze the remaining lemon and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese 
    over the leaves. Add croutons and toss again until all the 
    croutons have begun to absorb some of the dressing. 

8.  Serve immediately on large dinner plates, usually before 
    serving the entree. 

Caesar salad notes:

Philosophy:  The most important feature of a Caesar salad is the
delicate taste of the dressing that you prepare in the bowl. It
does not keep well and thus the salad should be eaten immediately
after it is made. The lettuce and croutons serve as the vehicle
for the dressing's flavor. Adding additional ingredients such as
tomatoes, onions, or mushrooms, which have distinctive flavors of
their own, masks the taste of the dressing and is considered
highly irregular.
Salad bowl:  The best bowl is solid teak with a hemispherical
shape about 12 inches in diameter. To care for the bowl coat it
lightly with olive oil. Clean the bowl as soon as possible after
serving the salad. The maker of my bowl advised not to use water
in it. However, I have found that a quick rinse with warm water
followed by thorough towel drying and light oiling keeps the bowl
in good shape. (My bowl is over 22 years old.)

Coddled eggs:  To prevent egg shells from cracking when first
immersed in boiling water, let the eggs sit out at room
temperature for half an hour. Or, warm the shells by running
cool, then gradually warmer tap water over them. Bring to a boil
enough water to cover the eggs. Place the eggs in the boiling
water for 1 minute and then immediately remove to cool water for
a few minutes. At high elevations leave them in longer (total of
about 2 minutes at 7500 feet).

Croutons:  For very fresh, absorbent croutons make your own from
ordinary white sliced bread. I use one slice per person. First,
put the bread slices in the freezer (wrapped in plastic) until
the slices are firm. With a sharp knife, cut off the crusts and
feed the pieces to the birds. Cut the rest of the bread into
roughly 1/2-inch cubes. Place the cubes in a single layer on a
cookie sheet and bake at about 250 degrees to dry them out. Stir
the cubes around once or twice. Remove them from the oven when
they are a very light tan color (usually 30 to 45 minutes).
Croutons will stay fresh for several days in a closed
refrigerated container.

Substitutions:  The most spectacular salad contains all fresh
ingredients. However, if you need to simplify the procedure, here
are some recommendations for substitutions. Use a few tablespoons
of lemon juice in place of a freshly squeezed lemon. In place of
the garlic cloves you could sprinkle garlic powder (but not
garlic salt!) into the bowl. You can try commercially prepared
grated Parmesan cheese, but freshly grated Parmesan is sweeter
and has a better texture. (Commercial grated cheese often
contains cellulose to prevent caking. If it does, it will taste
just like a cardboard box.)  Ordinary head lettuce instead of
romaine might do in an emergency, but it's not for guests.
Anchovy paste in place of flat fillets is not a very good
substitute. Never use anything but pure olive oil.

Technique:  Part of the enjoyment of a Caesar salad is watching
the chef create it at the table. Prepare all of the ingredients
ahead of time and arrange them in saucers and bowls on a small
table next to the dining table. Be sure to include a stack of
dinner plates and a small bowl for discarding the egg shells. Do
everything with a flourish and occasionally tip the bowl allowing
your guests to watch (and sniff) your progress.


Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science (SCS) graciously hosts the Recipe Archive. We encourage you to learn about SCS educational programs and research.