The Mexican Food Factory‘s Taylor: Growing up, we always had this gigantic wooden salad bowl. I used to always think it was awesome. Caesar salad, made from scratch, was one of the things my dad made. He always made the Caesar dressing with tons of anchovies and fresh garlic, crushed or shaved, good Locatelli cheese and tons of olive oil, raw eggs, Worcestershire sauce. He made a lot of dressing. It wasn’t overbearingly creamy because of the raw eggs, Worcestershire, mustard powder and some lemon juice.  

My dad would make that dressing and just let that sit for an hour or two. He’d get a towel out and clean the romaine lettuce, wash it, wrap it up and put it in the fridge.  When he was ready, he’d fill the bowl with the lettuce. It was huge. There were always croutons, sometimes packaged, sometimes from a loaf of bread we had. We were always pretty good at using whatever extra food we had lying around in our meals.

I’d even eat that leftover salad the next day. We’d call it “Italian Kim Chi.” My folks didn’t cut the leaves small. So it would be super soggy, having been packed in a quart container. There was so much wetness. It didn’t ferment. But it was almost like pickled lettuce. I loved it the next day. I’d eat it for breakfast. That was awesome.

From what I understand, the Caesar salad is actually from Tijuana. There were two Italian guys who opened a restaurant down there. It was a salad they came up with using Italian ingredients. The first time it was made was in Tijuana, Mexico. A lot of those “American” dishes are like that.

Mexican Food Factory’s Taylor’s Dad’s Classic Caesar Salad

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 head Romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and outer leaves discarded
  • 3/4 cup good, extra virgin olive oil
  • splash of red wine vinegar
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves, crushed or shaved (the more, the better, in my book!)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (this dish is salty enough, in my opinion)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper (the more, the better, in my book!)
  • 1 large lemon, halved
  • 6-8 drops Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 raw eggs
  • 1/2 cup Locatelli cheese, grated
  • a pinch of mustard powder (the more, the better, in my book!)
  • 1 cup croutons (packaged or chunks from good bread lying around)
  • anchovies (the more, the better, in my book!)

Instructions:

  1. Snap Romaine up into super large lettuce leaves. Wash the lettuce, clean and dry them on paper towels and place them in the refrigerator to chill.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large salad bowl, prepare the dressing: Crack the eggs (which you can ever so gently poach just a tad before, if that eases your mind a bit)  into the salad bowl, being sure to scoop out the white that clings to the shell.
  3. Beat eggs with a fork. Gradually add lemon juice, oil and vinegar, beating all the while. Stir in Worcestershire sauce. Taste and add salt if needed, and lots of pepper.
  4. Let the sauce sit for a while.
  5. When ready, remove lettuce leaves from the refrigerator, and add them to the salad bowl. Mix up all around until the leaves are well coated.
  6. Add the croutons last and toss slightly.
  7. Add the cheese and anchovies on the top. Toss again, if you so choose. (That’s a personal preference.)
  8. Arrange individual leaves on a dinner plate, stem side out, some say. Enjoy the crispiness!
  9. Pack any leftovers into a quart container and eat the next day. Enjoy the soggy “Italian Kim Chi.”

 

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