For those interested in history, it’s amazing that for a dish allegedly under 100 years old, that its creator is still disputed. The Cardini family lay claim to it as a 1920s “on-the-spot” creation by their relative whose kitchen supplies ran out in a rush and made do with what he had (his first name was Caesar) – and there are some people that testify to this. However, other people who worked in his kitchen at the time lay claim to the recipe; all of which is more amazing as apparently no documentary evidence of the dish exists until the 1940s.
Anyway, my favourite salad is a Caesar Salad (it absolutely has to be lettuce as the leaf, left big and not shredded) – preferably made into a substantial meal with some chargrilled chicken, crispy smoked bacon and a poached egg. The only problem is that I hate anchovies; I mean I really hate them. But as the natural saltiness is a pre-requisite for this salad, so I substitute capers. I am sure the purists around will be aghast at that, but it really works.
I also like my dressing relatively thick; which is why there’s two types of oil listed below. If you like it thin, omit the ground nut oil. Of course, feel free to use more or less ground nut oil to get the consistency you like. Incidentally, the reason why there are two different oils is that any more than 100ml of olive oil will add an overpowering peppery bitterness to the dressing, but if you don’t have groundnut oil, then sunflower will suffice.
This will make enough dressing for 4 main course sized salads
- 1 large egg
- 3 garlic gloves, crushed
- 1 to 1 ½ tbsp. lemon juice.
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard (has to be Dijon, English is just too powerful and American style is just the wrong consistency to make this work)
- 1 (good) tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tsp capers, drained
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- 100ml olive oil
- 25ml groundnut oil
- Put everything into a food processor except for the oils and whizz it up until the ingredients are combined. Season with salt and pepper
- On a low setting, keep the mix going and gradually pour in the olive oil until it is all combined into an emulsion
- Add the groundnut oil in the same way until you have the consistency you want.
This contains a raw egg and almost no preserving agents, so has to be used ideally on the same day.