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. What follows is my she-can-cook-a-lot-better-than-I-can 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
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.
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
Freshly ground black pepper (1/4 teaspoon or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 In a very large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and garlic. Let sit for half an hour.
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.
Serves 4-6 for a main course or up to 8-12 for a side salad.