Romaine (Caesar?) Salad in Coronado, Calif.

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Tue Dec 11 00:41:56 UTC 2001

   This continues ADS-L discussion of "Caesar salad."  Supposedly, Caesar Cardini came up with it on July 4th, 1924, but the earliest "Caesar salad" cite I have is 1947 (GOURMET magazine, published in Los Angeles).  I have earlier "Romaine salad" cites that are similar.
   A copy of this is being sent to the Hotel del Coronado, which helped look through its historic menus but didn't find anything this early.
   I've looked at all of the SUNSET cookbooks, but I decided to go through the magazine 1945-1947.
   From SUNSET magazine, March 1945, pg. 27, col. 1:

Down in Coronado, California, there's a restaurant called La Avenida Cafe which is known as the "Home of Romaine Salad."  Small wonder, for the salad which is their _specialte de la maison_ is a dish to tempt the epicure.  Here's the recipe as given us by S. Jack Clapp, who is La Avenida's authority on such matters.
   3 or 4 heads chilled, crisp Romaine
   2 handfuls crisp croutons (little cubes pf fried bread)
   6 tablespoons garlic oil
   4 tablespoons olive oil
     Salt and black pepper to taste
   1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
   6 heaping tablespoons grated Parmesan-type cheese
   1 egg
     Juice of 3 lemons
Break the Romaine into a salad bowl; add croutons, oil, seasonings, and cheese.  Break the raw egg over the salad, then pour the lemon juice over the egg.  Toss all together lightly from the bottom, and serve.  Serves 6.
Regarding the ingredients, Mr. Clapp has this to say:
_Romaine:_  Purchase pale green heads.  Remove outer leaves, wash thoroughly, shake dry, and chill in refrigerator.
_Garlic Oil:_  Chop or mash a clove of garlic and place in bottom of a pint jar.  Fill jar with any salad oil except olive oil, keep at kitchen temperature, and use as needed.  Use the oil only; don't add the garlic to the salad.
_Olive Oil:_  In the case of this particular salad, best results are obtained if only a part (4 tablespoons) of the oil used is olive oil.
_Black Pepper:_  If possible, grin it yourself with a pepper mill.  Use plenty.
_Parmesan-type Cheese:_  Ideally, this should be freshly grated.
_Egg:_  The raw egg acts as a binder and causes the dressing to be evenly distributed through the salad.  The flavor of the egg is not detectable in the finished salad.
With the salad, Mr. Clapp suggests serving Garlic Toast.  To make it, split French rolls, brush the cut surface with garlic oil, sprinkle with Parmesan-type cheese and paprika, and heat in the oven.

   From SUNSET, July 1946, "Chefs of the West," pg. 45, col. 1:

   Comet Brooks concludes...with two classic recipes:
   1 large clove garlic
   4 small heads romaine
   2 eggs, boiled 1 minute
   10 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
   1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
   1/4 cup olive oil
   2 tablespoons tarragon wine vinegar
   2 cups croutons
     Salt and freshly ground pepper
     Juice 1 lemon
Mash garlic clove in salad bowl and rub around sides.  Add romaine, torn in fairly large pieces.  Scoop the soft-cooked eggs out onto the greens.  Add other ingredients, using lemon juice last.  Toss well with hands.
Serve _al fresco_ with toasted garlic bread, a light, dry California wine, and a fresh fruit compote, well chilled.
   Comet Brooks (signed--ed.)
   Canoga Park, California

   From SUNSET, March 1946, pg. 48, col. 2:

   _Green salads_
Here's the recipe for one of our favorite green salads, _Romaine salad_, which appeared in _Sunset_ in March 1945.

(I did _not_ find the name "Caesar Salad" in SUNSET through the end of 1947--ed.)

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