Although this salad recipe is not traditional Italian and will not be found on any true restaurant menu in Italy, I have decided to include it on my site as it is often requested. This popular dish was originally created in 1924 by Italian chef Caesar Cardini at his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico and was prepared and served right at the table. This practice continues to this day across North America (and world wide) in many restaurants including many Italian American restaurants.
I include crispy prosciutto bits in my personal recipe which are quite salty themselves so be careful when adding additional salt. If you do not want to make the effort to prepare your own croutons, you can buy a good quality store bought brand instead, but it is a great way to use up day old bread. I also like to leave the romaine leaves whole for a more interesting look to the salad.
Note: If you are concerned about using raw eggs, you may first drop the whole eggs into boiling water and leave for exactly 1 minute. Allow to cool and then use the egg yolks.
Deborah Mele 2011
Though not traditionally Italian, this delicious salad is offered in Italian restaurants across North America.
For the Croutons:
- 2 Large Garlic Cloves
- Pinch of Salt
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Cups Country Bread Slices Cut Into 1 1/2 Inch Pieces
For the Salad:
- 2 Large Egg Yolks
- 1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 3 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 Medium Garlic Clove, Crushed
- 1 Pinch Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
- 1 Teaspoons Anchovy Paste or 4 Anchovies
- 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 1/3 Cup Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Medium Heads of Romaine Lettuce – Outer Leaves Removed
- 1/3 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 4 Slices Prosciutto
- To make the croutons, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine garlic, oil, salt, and bread cubes in a bowl, mix until cubes are coated evenly.
- Spread the coated cubes onto a baking sheet and bake until the croutons are golden, about 10 minutes.
- Cut the prosciutto into a small dice.Heat a heavy frying pan, and then cook the prosciutto bits in it until they are brown and crispy.
- Set aside to cool.
- Cut off the stem ends of the romaine leaves and pull apart the leaves, then place the leaves in a large bowl for tossing with the other ingredients.
- Mix the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic, salt & pepper, anchovy, and mustard in a bowl.
- Add the egg yolks to these ingredients and whisk until smooth.
- Slowly add the oil in a steady stream while constantly whisking again until smooth.
- If you add the oil too quickly, the dressing will be separate and not emulsify. (It works best for me if I whisk briskly while someone else slowly drizzles the oil into the bowl.)
- Pour the sauce into the large bowl with the romaine leaves, along with the croutons and grated Parmesan cheese.
- Toss to lightly coat the lettuce leaves and then divide the salad between four plates, and serve immediately.