This famous salad is not Italian, but rather a true treasure of Baja. Originally from Tijuana, Mexico, it was created by the famous chef Alex-Caesar Cardini, who first called it “Aviator’s Salad”, in honor of the pilot’s from Rockwell Field Air Base in San Diego California that frequented his restaurant. Later it was called The “Caesar” Salad in honor of Cardini. Many recipes call for lemon juice but I believe this original recipe which uses Key lime juice is has a much fresher taste.
10-12 Fresh romaine lettuce leaves
1-cup Garlic croutons
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 cloves fresh garlic
6 flat anchovy fillets, drained and minced or 1 Tbl Anchovy paste
* Yolk of 1 fresh large egg
1 Tbl. fresh squeezed key lime juice
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of salt
Pinch of crushed red chile
1/4-cup extra virgin olive oil
Rinse lettuce well and dry in a salad spinner. Tear into bite size pieces, (cutting with a steel knife will cause the lettuce to rust much faster) and place in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour. Refrigerating makes the lettuce more crisp.
Rub the salad bowl with the garlic cloves and then mash it into a paste or use a garlic press. Add the anchovies, egg yolk, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt and red chile. Mash and mix well. Then whisk in the olive oil.
Toss together lettuce, half of the croutons and half of the cheese in the dressing. Place salad on serving plates and sprinkle top with remaining cheese and croutons. Offer fresh ground black pepper.
*Authors note; Eggs can contain dangerous bacteria, if the eggs in your
area have been known to have this problem, or if you are concerned at all,
Substitute eggs with pasteurized eggs or 1 Tbl. heavy cream. The flavor change, from the cream, is minimal.