Updated: Nov 8
The Fun Facts About the Caesar Salad
The Mexico, Italy and California connections revealed. Plus our tastiest, family and friend tested, salad dressing recipe
Yep, one of the most iconic American salads was invented in Mexico. The story begins in California circa 1910. Cesare Cardini immigrated from Italy and opened restaurants in San Diego and Sacramento. Prohibition starts in 1920 and forces him to move across the border to Tijuana, Mexico. The business is flourishing… but on one infamous day it is so busy he is running out of ingredients. Cardini is creating dishes on the spot. He reaches for lettuce, raw egg yolk, Parmesan cheese, leftovers and Cesare Salad is born. The day was July 4th,1924 American Independence day.
The clever, tableside presentation of the salad and the flavorful dressing became wildly popular. Eventually, Cardini moved back to Los Angeles and in a true American entrepreneurial way patented his Caesar Salad Dressing in 1948.
BUT…in all good stories there is controversy. Some experts say it was actually Alex, Cesare’s brother who created the dish. A young employee claimed the salad was based on a salad his mother used to make.
What is true is that the lemon in the current version has replaced the lime used in the original dish.
We are sharing our favorite version of America’s most popular Caesar Salad Dressing. Once tried, you will never buy bottled dressing. It doubles as an excellent dip. The anchovy paste is pure umami. Take the time to freshly grate a block of Parmesan cheese. When assembling the salad, add chopped apple, pear, or halved grapes and low sugar cranberries. Go nuts with a sprinkling of crushed almonds and toss. It is a winner version of Caesar Salad.
Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing
By Jennifer Segal, adapted from Gourmet magazine
My family loves this rich and creamy Caesar salad dressing. It’s not overly garlicky or fishy — it’s just right.
Servings: Makes 1⅓ cups (enough for about 10 starter salads)
Total Time: 10 Minutes
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (see note)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I like the brand Maille)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann's Real
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, anchovy paste, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Add the mayonnaise, Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt and pepper and whisk until well combined. Taste and adjust to your liking. The dressing will keep well in the fridge for about a week.
Note: Anchovy paste can be found near the canned tuna in the supermarket.
Brenda & Tina