Original Tijuana Caesar Salad & Homemade Dressing Recipe
There is no disputing the world-wide popularity of the Caesar salad, but you might be surprised to find out that this salad does not come from Italy. While it is named after an Italian (American) chef, Cesare Cardini, if you attribute it to the place it was created, the Caesar salad belongs to Mexican gastronomy. As the story goes, Chef Cesare was living in San Diego, California, but working at a restaurant in Tijuana when he created his leafy masterpiece. Since its conception, there have been various reinterpretations of Caesar dressing, many of which include incorporating vinegar, commercial mayonnaise and, predictably, anchovies. The ingredients we've used stay true to Cesare's original recipe, and we assure you, after making this salad from scratch, you'll never go back to store-bought dressing.
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp of lemon juice
- 1½ tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 small clove of garlic
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
- 2 medium heads of romaine lettuce with the outer leaves removed
- A day old baguette or loaf of country bread
- 3 tbsp oil for croutons
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Finely minced clove of garlic or garlic salt for croutons (optional)
- Dried oregano or herbs of your choosing for crutons (optional)
- Extra parmigiano reggiano cheese to shave into the salad
- Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and cook the egg for 3 minutes, immediately draining and setting to cool in a dish of cold water.
- Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestle to mash the garlic clove with the black pepper and mustard until they form a homogenous paste.
- Once the garlic mixture is well mashed, grind in the parmesan a bit at a time until well incorporated.
- Transfer the paste to a large bowl and mix in the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.
- In a separate bowl, separate the egg yolk (it should still be runny) from the egg white (which should have solidified), discard the egg white and beat the yolk.
- Mix the beaten egg yolk in with the rest of the ingredients that you've already mixed together in the large bowl.
- Finally, whisk the ½ cup of olive oil into the mixture of the other ingredients a little at a time so as to fully incorporate it into a smooth emulsion. This step will take some time and quite a bit of effort, you should feel the dressing thicken as the olive oil is incorporated.
- If you intend to use all of the dressing at this time, cover the bowl and set aside. Otherwise, pour the dressing in a resealable container and put it in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Cut or tear up the bread into ½" - 1" cubes and set aside in a large bowl, you should have aprox. 3 cups of bread when you are done.
- In a small bowl, mix together the 3 tablespoons of oil (we like olive oil, but you can use whatever you prefer) with salt an pepper to taste, garlic and herbs.
- Mix the bread with the oil, tossing until it is all well coated.
- Spread the coated bread in a single layer over a lined baking sheet and cook in the oven, turning a few times, for 10-15 mins, until the outside of the bread pieces are crunchy and golden.
- While the croutons cook, tear up the romaine, wash and dry.
- When you are ready to serve the salad, toss the romaine with the dressing, mix in the croutons and top with parmigiano reggiano shavings.
- Serve with freshly ground black pepper and enjoy!
Many from scratch recipes substitute mayonnaise for the combination of egg yolk and oil. If you are uncomfortable eating raw egg, you are welcome to do the same, but the result will be much lighter in color, less concentrated in flavor, and heavier in calories. Even when using egg and olive oil, your dressing may be lighter or deeper in color depending on the mustard that you use and on the quality of your eggs. If you are inexperienced making an emulsion using a whisk or are just short of time, you can mix the ingredients using an immersion blender, but this technique can alter the flavor slightly. This dressing keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.