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Not a Roman creation: the Caesar salad

food short

In the leafy realm of Caesar Salad, crisp romaine lettuce meets a symphony of flavours in a dish that boasts both royal origins and international acclaim.

Legend has it that Caesar Salad owes its creation to Caesar Cardini, an Italian-American restaurateur during the 1920s in Tijuana, Mexico. As the story goes, Cardini improvised the salad using the ingredients he had available, creating a spectacle by assembling it tableside for a dash of theatrical flair.

Unlike its Roman namesake, the Caesar Salad’s roots are not ancient, but its popularity quickly transcended borders, and was quickly adopted by Hollywood’s glamorous circles. Its fame spread like wildfire, becoming a symbol of chic and cosmopolitan dining.

Instead of a traditional recipe, Caesar Salad is known for its unconventional assembly. Romaine leaves carefully coated in a dressing made with garlic, anchovies, Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese, olive oil and egg yolk with crunchy croutons adding the perfect textural contrast.

The Caesar Salad’s migration from Tijuana to the United States marked a turning point in its history with each chef adding their unique spin. Whether topped with grilled chicken, shrimp or salmon, the Caesar Salad became a canvas for culinary creativity.

As the 20th century unfolded, the Caesar Salad found a warm welcome in European kitchens. The Caesar Salad, with its harmonious blend of flavours, became a timeless favourite, proving that a culinary creation born in Tijuana could find a home on global menus.

In the 21st century, Caesar Salad has become a ubiquitous presence on restaurant menus worldwide. Chefs incorporate twists like kale or quinoa, ensuring that the Caesar Salad remains relevant in an era that values both tradition and innovation.

The salad’s cameo appearances in films, TV shows, and novels has solidified its status as an iconic dish. Whether enjoyed in a rustic trattoria in Italy or a trendy bistro in New York, the Caesar Salad continues to be a symbol of simple elegance, a dish that transcends time and borders.

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