Caesar Salad

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Do a little research into the background of the caesar salad and you’ll find that it is named not for some illustrious Roman emperor, but for Caesar Cardini, a Mexican chef working in Tijuana in the 1920s, who would dramatically serve it up table-side. (At least that’s how the story goes.)

Fast forward to this century and you have what is probably the most popular restaurant salad in the country, with plenty of variations around the theme of romaine lettuce, garlic, Parmesan, and croutons.

Caesar Salad

 

What follows is my friend Suzanne’s recipe, family size. I love Suzanne’s caesar salad, and have been a frequent guest at her house when it has happened to have been served (lucky!)

She makes her own croutons from scratch, from baguette slices that have been brushed with olive oil, toasted, and then roughly chopped. This she does while the garlic has been soaking in olive oil in the serving bowl, a great way to infuse the oil with garlic.

Caesar Salad Recipe

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  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 for a main course or up to 8-12 for a side salad

If you have a concern about the raw eggs called for in this recipe, you can use pasteurized eggs, or you can coddle the eggs first by immersing them in boiling water for 1 minute, before cracking them open. If you don't have anchovies available, add a teaspoon of worcestershire sauce to the dressing.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled, smashed, then minced
  • 1 baguette, preferably a day old, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup freshly juiced lemon juice (plus more to taste)
  • 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste, or 1-2 anchovies, smashed and minced
  • 2 eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper (1/4 teaspoon or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4-6 small heads of romaine lettuce, rinsed, patted dry, wilted outer leaves discarded

Method

1 In a very large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and garlic. Let sit for half an hour.

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2 While the oil is sitting, make the croutons. Spread the baguette slices out over a baking sheet (may need to do in batches), lined with parchment paper or Silpat. Brush or spray with olive oil (or melted butter, or if you want garlicky croutons, dip pastry brush in the garlic infused oil you have sitting in step 1). Broil for a couple of minutes until the tops are lightly browned. (Note: do not walk away, these can easily go from browned to burnt.) Remove and let cool.

The steps up until this point can be made ahead.

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3 Add anchovies and eggs to the oil garlic mixture. Whisk until creamy. Add salt and pepper and 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Whisk in half of the Parmesan cheese. Taste, add more lemon juice to taste. The lemon should give an edge to the dressing, but not overwhelm it.

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4 Using your hands, tear off chunks of lettuce from the heads of lettuce (do not use a knife to cut). Add to the oil mixture and toss until coated. Add the rest of the Parmesan cheese, toss.

5 Coarsely chop the toasted bread and add (with the crumbs from the chopping) to the salad. Toss. Serve immediately.

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Caesar Salad

Links:

Ruhlman's chicken-fried pork belly caesar

Filipino Pantry Chicken Caesar Salad from Burnt Lumpia

Chicken Caesar Salad made with a buttermilk dressing, from Cafe Fernando

Caesar Salad Club Sandwich from Noble Pig

Caesar Salad with Shrimp from Lydia of The Perfect Pantry

Caesar Salad

Showing 4 of 24 Comments

  • Madhu

    My first attempt at Caesar salad and it was tasty! Subbed Worcestershire sauce and a stale loaf of garlic bread, toasted with garlic butter and chopped. I’m going to make and keep some garlicky olive oil for next time…Thank you for putting up the recipe with lovely pictures !

  • Michael

    Excellent! SO simple, SO delicious and SO much better than the dressings with dry mustard, mayo and others. Thank you for this recipe!

  • Katie K.

    Dayum. This salad is good. I made it for a dinner party. This was definitely a crowd pleaser!! Thanks so much. Your recipes are delicious.

  • Angie

    This is so delicious! Just the right amount of tangy, too. Thank you very much for this recipe, as well as others on your site. I’ve tried many of them and have never once been disappointed. Thanks again!!

  • Jonathan

    Delicious! An outstanding salad, and with a little sautéed chicken it makes a perfect dinner salad. And, while others have pointed it out, the photos are amazing, better than professional-grade. Thanks for the recipe!

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