Sunday, May 1, 2011

Viva Alex-Caesar Cardini!

Rumor has it that the Caesar salad was invented by Alex-Caesar Cardini at his restaurant in Tijuana, BC in 1926. Many other chuckle heads have tried to steal the rights to this salad, but I believe that Cardini was the creator. My cousin the accomplished food writer, and cook book author, and native of Tijuana Carolynn Carreno says so. (Insert shameless name drop here) I dig this salad, and over the years I have made many thousands of them at restaurants across the country. Here is my version, with great homage to the master himself.

Alchemy Caesar Salad (makes two huge portions)


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 filets of white anchovy (boquerones) Do not use those nasty "Prince Oscar" type dark salty things. They will ruin the recipe, and give you very bad breath.
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
A few grinds of black pepper

Salad prep.

2 organic romaine lettuce hearts
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (if you use the cheap stuff, you will die from shame!)
2 organic egg yolks


1/3 french Baguette
5 teeth garlic
1 tsp kosher salt
generous grind of black pepper

technique: Combine all the ingredients for the dressing (except the oil) in a food processor and blend until smooth. Drizzle in the oil slowly to emulsify. set aside. Grate cheese, set aside two egg yolks. Chill all of the above. Cut bread into nice 1 inch chunks and toss with garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Bake in 350 degree oven until lightly browned. Don't cook these until they are hard and destroy the roof of your mouth, that in conjunction with the lemony dressing is not a good thing. Allow croutons to cool. Blend dressing, eggs, and cheese in a large mixing bowl. the old school, "prepared table side in a wooden bowl thing" is obsolete. Toss lettuce lightly to coat. Serve immediately on chilled plates with croutons. That's it! Have at it!

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