When we were little and we had something to celebrate our parents would take us to Kefalari a part of Kifissia in northern Athens to eat at Pappa's or Capricioza..
Some of you may remember these restaurants as some of the “good” restaurants of the northern suburbs..if not then ask your parents. They may smile.
The fight we always had at the table was which salad we would order…the chef’s salad or the Caesar salad. We usually had the Chef’s salad but occasionally they would indulge me and we would have the Caesar with the wonderful dressing and the shaved parmesan on top.
I have tried to remember if it had anchovies or not but I can’t remember.. if anyone knows let me know.
Years later I heard that the salad had not taken its name from Julius Caesar as I had thought as a child; fantasising about him eating the salad wearing his uniform and helmet (I was a child..what do you expect..). It got its name from an Italian-American chef who had created it first in a restaurant in Tijuana Mexico which carried his name, around the time of the prohibition period in America in the 1920s and 30s…
The myth surrounding the salad occurred during a 4th of July American Independence Day celebration when there were so many customers in the restaurant (the Americans went to Mexico then to drink alcohol because of the prohibition) that they had basically run out of food except for some salads leaves and that the chef had invented the dish there and then and it was an instant hit.
The most impressive thing was the chef created the salad at the table and the customer saw him mix all the ingredients together to create the unique sauce, the oil and the lemon and the Worcestershire sauce in a ceremony that became legendary.
The dressing didn’t have anchovies then.. the taste of them came from the Worcestershire sauce which contains them.
Anyway I won’t go on and on.. the brother of Caesar (the Italo-Americas) improved the recipe by adding anchovies and he named it “The Aviator” but that didn’t go down well so it reverted back to the original name but with the new recipe. In my salad I use ready made mayonnaise because it’s easier and safer but one day I will make my own and share that with you.
For now check out my easier version in which I coat the chicken with breadcrumbs and pan fry it in order to increase the calorific content even more!
But at least if someone asks you what you had for dinner yesterday you can say “I had a little salad”..:)
Oh! This year is the 95th anniversary of the first time it was made for a customer at the table so Bon Appetite !!