Chef Caesar Cardini, with restaurants in San Diego and Tijuana, is credited with inventing this salad on the 4th of July in 1924. All along, many others have laid claim to it. And for good reason: it’s a great salad. Years ago, a foodie extolled that it was possibly the greatest advance in salad fabrication in several centuries.
Fabrication is, indeed, the key. The Little Woman made this salad all the years of our marriage and maybe before that, as from holy writ.
Thus, according to TLW’s scripture:
1. The Romaine lettuce must be spun dried, laid out on a clean cotton dish towel, rolled up to rest and to dry the leaves even more and only then are the greens carefully torn (not cut) from the white center stem of each leaf. All green to light green leaves in her salad. No white.
2. Two cheeses: freshly shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and freshly crumbled blue cheese–the real stuff. No Kraft slices.
3. Anchovies add depth and sharpness to the salad. “Gotta be in there, said she.” But since many people don’t care for anchovy fillets, TLW used anchovy paste. A one inch squirt was about right.
4. If you can, it is best to use a Pastaurized egg (sous vide 134.5F for 2 hours).
So here we have: (Serves 6-8. See abbreviations, if necessary)
1/3 C ….. EVOO, your best (light and flavorable)
2 ………… garlic cloves, pureed
2.5 T …… fresh lemon juice
1 T ……… Worcestershire sauce
½ t ……… salt
1.5 ……… inch squirt of anchovy paste
1 ………… large head of Romaine lettuce
1 ………… raw egg, Pastaurized sous vide (134.5F for 2 hours),ambient,
½ C …….. shaved and diced Parmigiano-Reggiano
¼ C ………crumbled blue cheese
6 grinds .. freshly ground pepper
1 C ……… croutons, store bought OK
1. In a bowl, combine EVOO, garlic, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, anchovy paste and salt. Whisk to mix well and set aside
2. Wash and spin-dry lettuce leaves. Tear them from their stem into bite sized pieces, discard the heavy white stem portion of each leaf
3. Lay the torn leaf parts out on a cotton dish towel, roll up and set aside.
4. When ready, unwrap the leaves and place them in a very large salad bowl. Re-whisk the dressing and then drizzle it over the leaves. Add the beaten egg and toss with salad tongs
5. Add the cheeses and toss again
6. Grind on the pepper, then add the croutons and toss once more.
7. Serve immediately
Note: Steps 1 and 2 can be done well before the event. If you have a sous vide set up, use it to pasteurize the raw egg at 135.4F for 2 hours.