Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Caesar's Salad with Carla Cardini

Original Caesar's Salad

Carla Cardini demonstrating her grandfather's Caesar Salad

Whole Romain lettuce hearts and leaves with coddled eggs

Diane making Caesar's Salad for two!

Ready to Serve

Caesar Salad (SEE-zer) - The salad consists of greens (classically romaine lettuce) with a garlic vinaigrette dressing. In the 1930s, Caesar Salad was voted by the master chefs of the International Society of Epicures in Paris as the "greatest recipe to originate from the Americas in fifty years." Linda Stradley From What's Cooking America

Monday night we were invited to the old Judge Roy Hofheinz home, the builder of the Astrodome and Astroworld, and the current location of Catering by Culinaire by the Houston Chow Hounds to attend a demonstration by Carla Cardini. Carla is the granddaughter or Alex Cardini, the creator of the Caesar Salad in Tijuana, Mexico in 1927.

There are many accounts of how and who invented the salad, but it is believed that Alex first added anchovies and first served it to a group of aviators visiting Tijuana from Rockwell field in San Diego.
Alex, an ace pilot himself in the Italian Air Force during World War I, made the salad intending whole lettuce leaves to be eaten with your hands.

Carla started off with whole romaine lettuce leaves and hearts, enough for two people, and drizzled a little vegetable oil enabling the salt and pepper to stick to the leaves. She then broke two coddled eggs over the leaves and squeezed two key limes or one whole regular lime over each egg yolk and about four or five shakes of a bottle of Worcestershire sauce over the leaves.

The croutons were French bread rounds, toasted, rubbed with anchovy paste on both sides then each side dipped in vegetable oil that had minced garlic marinating in it.

At that time the croutons were added to the salad along with Parmigiana Reggiano and a little more of the oil and garlic. The leaves were gently rolled with salad tongs until thoroughly coated making sure croutons were not broken. Taste for seasoning and more cheese can be added if dressing is too wet.

Everyone stood around their respective salad bowls and ate their salads with their fingers which of course made it even taste better.

This is as close to the recipe as I can remember Carla making. Out of the 10 or 12 salads made last night, every one had a slightly different taste. Some liked more cheese, salt, pepper,
Worcestershire or garlic, but all in all every salad was very good.

This is a very simple and delicious dressing to make. A Caesar Salad should never be made ahead of time.

We like to have informal meals with our friends and this salad would be perfect to serve at these dinners. Give each couple their own salad bowl and
ingredients. Let everyone make their own salad and see for yourself that each one will be slightly different. Salad can be eaten directly out of the bowl or leaves arranged in a circle around a plate.

1 comment:

racheld said...

Just reading this post causes an under-tongue tingle akin to sniffing the French's jar.

It's lovely to find such evocative writing; had Pavlov had your descriptive powers, he could have saved a bundle on Alpo.

Looking forward to dropping in often.


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