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Classic Caesar Salad

Contributor: Jim Brown’s (former beloved Il Cenacolo Member who recently passed) recipe used in his La Lanterna restaurant

The origins of this recipe go back to La Lanterna – it’s quite a story. 

We’ve always used homemade croutons, but if that much work isn’t your thing, you have permission to buy them. Niz is making us tell you that if you do make them, they must be made with sweet French bread, which has a softer crust and a tender crumb that makes for delicate croutons. Warning: they are an addictive snack! 

Notes and Special Equipment: Legend has it that Italian-American restaurateur Caesar Cardini invented this classic salad in 1924 in Tijuana, Mexico.
Prep Time: 40 min
Cooking Time: 10 min
Servings: 4
Ingredients

Dressing:

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • ½ t. Dijon mustard
  • 2 shakes Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ can anchovies, finely chopped
  • freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 coddled egg or 1 egg yolk (optional)


Croutons: 

  • 1 loaf sweet French bread (best if day-old) cut in 1/2″ cubes
  • 3/4 c. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • 3 T chopped parsley


Salad:

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, washed and cut up
  • ½ c. grated (much preferred to shredded) parmesan cheese
Instructions

To make croutons: Preheat oven to 400F. Mix olive oil, garlic, salt and parsley in large bowl. Toss well with bread cubes. Spread in a single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until brown and crispy, stirring if necessary for even browning. The fresher the bread, the longer they take to crisp up.

Prepare your salad dressing: Mix all dressing ingredients except olive oil. An immersion blender will make a smooth dressing – a whisk will leave bits of garlic and anchovy. Add olive oil and blend again, Most of the time the dressing will emulsify.

To coddle egg for Ceasar: Coddle egg by heating 3 cups of water to boiling. Drop in egg (still in shell) and let stand for 1 minute. Remove egg from water and let cool. Once cooled crack open and whisk egg into the dressing. Whisk until thoroughly blended.

Mix your salad: Toss lettuce with dressing to coat, mixing well. Add a few handfuls of croutons and toss again. Lastly, add cheese and more black pepper to taste. Toss well and serve. 

Happy cooking! 

Wine Pairing Suggestion
Ceasar salad has a base of garlic, anchovy and mustard, all strong flavors. Salty anchovies cry out for champagne or prosecco, or any Brut (dry) sparkler. The mustard will not pair well with lots of red wines. So the pairing for a Ceasar salad would be a bold white wine (a drier unoaked chardonnay, Riesling, a cool climate Sauvignon Blanc such as from New Zealand, champagne or prosecco–all good choices). By the way, when really challenged with a difficult pairing (asparagus and artichokes come to mind) fall back on champagne or prosecco.

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