The Real Caesar Salad
Hail Caesar But Hold the Anchovies!
Originally written by Kathleen Mary Anderse after an interview in 1987 with Rosa Cardini for Mailpac Magazine, Los Angeles
Eighty-three years ago, over a hot Fourth of July weekend, a legendary salad was born. And an Italian immigrant nams Caesar Cardini tossed his way to immortality.
The setting: Caesar's hotel in Tijuana. The year. 1923. The Salad: Caesar, of course. In a dramatic salute to the holiday festivities, Cardini presented a house salad unlike any other that his guest had tasted. He came "right to the table with the cart and tossed each ingredient in the correct order," says his daughter Rosa Cardini of Caesar Cardini Foods, a line of salad dressing her father established less than 10 years before his death in 1956.
Her hotelier dad knew exactly how to play to the fun-seekers who gave Prohibition the slip the minute they crossed the Mexican border for drinking, gambling and dining in style. Make that high style: Cardini's romain salad, which he prepared for such Hollywood luminaries as Carole Lombard, Clark Gable and Douglas Fairbanks Sr. was nothing if not pure showmanship.
"It's what we call a "now" food -- It should be done right in fro"There were never any anchovies, by the way," says Cardini, who thinks she knows how the pungent fish ended up in the imitations of the salad.
My father always used Lea and Perrins Worcheshire sauce, and anchovies are one of its ingredietns. He meant this to be a subtle salad, and anchovies can be overwhelming". At the age of 10, Rosa helped to bottle her father's famous recipe, which the family sold from their station wagon at Los Angeles' Farmers Market after moving from San Diego. After her father's death in 1956, Cardini rdini took control of the business, Caesar Cardini Foods Inc. and obtained a patented the Caesar recipe and 17 others.
Here's Rosa's rules for making great Caesar Salad:
1) Use the best of everything, fresh romaine, juicy lemons, good quality Italian olive oil and real imported Parmesan cheese --no immitations.
2) Keep the romaine leaves completely dry, crisp and cold.
3) Assemble all the ingredients at the table. Toss gently, do not bruise your leaves!
Garlic flavored oil: Marinate 4 garlic cloves in olive oil.
Post Note: This interview with Rosa Cardini was done in 1987. Ms. Cardini passed away in 2003 at the age of 75 from kidney failure. She parlayed the family recipe into a multi million dollar business before selling to a food distributor in Chicago. The Cardini Lable of Salad Dressings still remain popular on the market.