I’ve written many times about salad and how much I love the different combination of meals you can make under that all purpose name. My new favourite when I go out is Caesar salad, which can apparently also be Cesar salad or Cesare salad. It’s a perfect combination of flavours and textures, and i really do love it, although I often ask for it to come without the sauce which can be very acidic and dominating. Originally (or so some legends have it) it was just dressed with olive oil and Worcestershire sauce and maybe lemon juice. It was invented by an Italian American chef in Tijuana in Mexico who was unsurprisingly named Caesar.
There are certain key things – crisp lettuce (cos apparently) chicken, croutons, soft boiled eggs, Parmesan cheese – and according to some recipes anchovies, but according to others it’s the flavour of anchovies which should be present in the dressing. I’ve had quite a few now and some also have capers, which I like, that little sharp spike of flavour. With such simple ingredients it’s hard to go wrong, I’d have thought… if the eggs are hard-boiled rather than soft, well I can forgive that, and if it’s another crisp lettuce, that’s ok, and if the croutons are not the usual shape or size, well it still gives a crunch!
The other day I was at an expensive Italian restaurant and I ordered a Caesar salad, and t was dreadful! How could that be? I actually felt quite insulted by it and if it hadn’t been a friend’s party I might have made a little fuss. The lettuce was flabby leaves (really no excuse fro that – you can buy crisp lettuce at any supermarket) the chicken tasted as if it had been boiled and was in big slabs, the croutons were chunks of bread, the eggs weren’t just hard they were solid, and the sauce was so acidic, vinegary, sour and with a strange bitter taste. I was shocked!
A couple of days later I went to an Italian restaurant from a well -know chain, Pizza Express, and comforted myself with a beautiful Caesar salad at almost half the price – really lovely…You don’t always get what you pay for!
Here’s an interesting article about my favourite salad: