Instead of serving a typical green salad for your Christmas meal, surprise your dinner guests with a homemade Caesar salad. You can even add some flair to your get-together by preparing your Caesar salad classic-style — tossing it tableside.
Even though a Caesar is a very simple salad to make, it adds effortless panache to your holiday dinner parties — especially when you create it right in front of your guests.
A quick history of the Caesar salad
The Caesar salad has a few historical origins, but Caesar Cardini, an Italian-born Mexican, is the most popular rumored creator.
Legend has it that Cardini invented the salad after running out of other ingredients in his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico. He tossed it tableside to add flair for the guests.
The original recipe’s ingredients are somewhat different than the Caesar salad we know and love today. The original recipe didn’t contain anchovies, chicken (chicken Caesar salad is on nearly all sit-down restaurant menus) and mayonnaise. Rather, Worcestershire sauce, coddled eggs and mustard gave the classic dressing its original flavors.
Also, the classic Caesar salad was arranged leaf-by-leaf on a plate so diners could eat each leaf by hand. There are many mouthwatering variations on the Caesar salad today, giving you the option to add any ingredients you like. Here are some Caesar salad recipes you can serve this holiday season.
Original Caesar salad recipe
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups white bread, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 eggs
- 2 medium heads romaine lettuce
- Black pepper
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 6 drops Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and put a saucepan of water over high heat to bring water to a boil.
- Puree garlic, one-quarter cup olive oil and salt in a food processor until combined. Place bread cubes on a baking sheet and lightly toast in the oven.
- Add bread cubes to a hot skillet and toss with garlic oil. Saute one minute until hot. Move to a small bowl. Place eggs in the saucepan of water and boil for one minute.
- Place lettuce leaves in a large, wide mixing bowl.
- (Do the following tableside.) Toss remaining one-quarter cup of olive oil, salt and pepper with lettuce. Then add lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Break the eggs into the salad and add cheese, tossing to coat. Top with croutons and serve.
Chicken Caesar salad recipe
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 oil-packed anchovy, minced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cups white bread, torn or cut into pieces
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 head romaine lettuce, washed and torn into pieces
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and anchovy. Slowly drizzle in oil while whisking.
- To make croutons, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine crushed garlic, olive oil and salt in a bowl. Toss bread with oil mixture. Lay bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake about 10 to 15 minutes, flipping about halfway through.
- Sprinkle chicken with salt, sugar, garlic powder and onion powder. Grill chicken in a grill pan or in oven for about five minutes per side. Slice chicken into strips.
- Toss lettuce with chicken, croutons, dressing and cheese tableside.
Super simple homemade Caesar salad dressing recipe
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2-1/2 tablespoons prepared Dijon-style mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Shake or whisk all ingredients together. Chill until ready to use.
- Toss with romaine lettuce, croutons, sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives and whatever other ingredients you desire.