Please Pass the Recipe

sharing recipes from one generation to the next

Caesar Salad

Caesar salad was badly overexposed in Australia in the 1990s. Every city cafe served it’s own unique version often with embellishments that left the salad a shadow of the original 1924 invention by Italo American chef Caesar Cardini. The “make do” salad became popular because of the flourish of table-side theatre associated with it’s preparation and service.

Cardini’s salad was made with whole cos lettuce (romaine) leaves, and the diner was expected to pick up the filled leaves at the stalk end. Eating Caesar salad with your fingers never really caught on in Australia, but I can however see a direct link between the Caesar boom and the availability of baby cos in every suburban supermarket.

Caesar salad has become a fallback lunch choice when the fridge contents are at a low ebb. It’s rare for me to run out of eggs and parmesan, there’s generally bread and bacon in the freezer and anchovies are a pantry staple.

While I really like the flavour of anchovies, I prefer to soften their impact on the salad by including them in the dressing just as Cardini introduced his anchovy flavour by using Worcestershire sauce. The croutons, bacon and cheese are the salad’s seasoning so it’s wise to use them sparingly to avoid the saltiness dominating each mouthfull.

This is my version of Caesar Salad C1994

to serve 2:

2 heads of baby cos lettuce (romaine)

30g shaved parmagiano reggiano

1 large thick slice of stale sourdough bread

1 tablespoon parmesan oil

3 thick cut short loin rashers of bacon

2 eggs


1 whole egg

1-2 tablespoon lemon juice

8 anchovy fillets, drained

200mls olive oil

freshly ground black pepper

a little tepid water

Preheat the oven to 180C

Trim the root end from the lettuces and separate the leaves. Put the leaves into a large bowl of cold water and chill for 1/2 – 1 hour.

Trim the crusts from the bread and discard.  Cut the bread into 1cm dice. Drizzle the parmesan oil over the bread, toss to well combine then spread the cubes of bread on a ovenproof tray. Bake until golden brown then set aside to cool.

Dice the bacon, the spread on a baking paper lined ovenproof tray and bake until crisped. Drain on kitchen towel and set aside to cool.

Make the dressing.

Drain the lettuce and thoroughly spin dry. Set aside 8-10 perfect leaves then coarsely shred the remainder. Lightly dress the shredded leaves and set aside.

Soft poach the eggs in your preferred method.

Divide the dressed lettuce between two shallow serving bowls and garnish with the whole leaves. Scatter over the croutons, bacon and shaved parmesan cheese. Top with a poached eggs and a grinding of fresh black pepper.

Serve immediately with extra dressing on the side.

to make the dressing:  

Put the egg, anchovies and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into a deep narrow jug. Incorporate using a stick blender.

Continue to run the blender, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil. You will end up with a thick mayonnaise.

Thin the dressing with tepid water. Taste and adjust the seasonings with lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper.


About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

18 comments on “Caesar Salad

  1. Aneela Mirchandani
    October 17, 2015

    Nice to see an actual real caesar salad, one of my favorites


  2. tinywhitecottage
    October 11, 2015

    How exciting Sandra! A new grandson. Congratulations! You must be delighted. 🙂


  3. ChgoJohn
    October 10, 2015

    Dad was in the restaurant business and was a waiter when I was very young. When Mom & Dad entertained, he would make a Caesar salad for their guests. I remember watching him, transfixed. Your recipe sounds delicious and I’m sure Dad would approve. In fact, he’d probably be grateful that he was being served. 🙂
    I just noticed that you’ve a new addition to the family. Congratulations to you and your family!


    • Eha
      October 10, 2015

      May I ‘like’ too? [From the depths of reading your own just publiished book over this weekend passing far too fast]. My apologies but the love of Caesar Salad in Australia, at least Sydney, was well and truly alive in the 1960s and that from personal experiences 🙂 !

      Liked by 1 person

      • ladyredspecs
        October 10, 2015

        ha, Melbourne must have been lagging behind….!!


    • ladyredspecs
      October 10, 2015

      Thanks John, grandchildren are a special blessing!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beck @ Goldenpudding
    October 9, 2015

    Congrats on the new bub! And lovely to see a traditional Caesar with lots of anchovies, I love them and long ago stopped ordering it in cafes as I got sick of dressings that weren’t much more than a bad mayonnaise…


    • ladyredspecs
      October 9, 2015

      Thanks Beck, bubs is gorgeous, but then aren’t they all! I think Caesar salad is the most abused cafe food in Australia, sad really because it can be good!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Tasty Eats Ronit Penso
    October 9, 2015

    Looks great, though I’m not used to the addition of bacon in it. Is it a common Australian version, or your own? I do like the idea! 🙂


  6. cheergerm
    October 8, 2015

    Your recipe writing is spot on as per usual. The food history is too. Good one Mrs R.


  7. Gather and Graze
    October 8, 2015

    Beautiful flavours in this iconic salad. I love that you’ve brought us all back to show the original intentions of the chef who first made it. Delicious!


  8. Francesca
    October 8, 2015

    You, Madam Sandra, are making me feel extremely hungry. A classic so well executed.


    • ladyredspecs
      October 8, 2015

      Thanks Francesca, we’re having perfect salad weather. Our sweet little grandson finally arrived, I’m in love!!


      • Francesca
        October 9, 2015

        I wondered if he had finally made an appearance. Hooray. And congratulations to all, especially Leah. It is so nice to be in love again.

        Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on October 8, 2015 by in FODMAP diet, Food, Light Savoury Dishes, Salad, Sauces, Side Dishes & Salads and tagged , , , , , , , .
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