Stephen Harris: celebrating the Caesar salad, a dish born of necessity

Pan-fried Romaine lettuce salad with crispy bacon and Caesar dressing
Originally created from fridge bits and bobs, this modern classic is still a gift for innovative chefs Credit: Andrew Twort & Annie Hudson

If you were to run a competition to find the most ubiquitous dish served on menus up and down the country, I wouldn’t be surprised if the winner was the Caesar salad.

I’ve seen it plated up with grilled chicken, with bacon, and even fillets of fish, and in most of these cases the dish is a long way removed from the original. But to claim authenticity for what seems in the first place to have been a contents-of-the-fridge salad is stretching things.

The story goes back to the Twenties when an Italian immigrant, Caesar Cardini, realised that he could sidestep America’s prohibition laws by relocating his restaurant to Tijuana, just over Mexican border.

This allowed the grateful, thirsty Americans to cross the border for dinner and drinks before returning home a little worse for wear.

On one particular July 4 celebration his restaurant was so busy that he began to run out of ingredients and was...

To continue reading this Premium article

Register for free and access one Premium article per week

Enjoy unlimited access to Premium articles with a subscription

  • Subscriber-only events and experiences
  • Access Premium articles on our mobile app

30-day free trial

then only £2 per week

Unlock all Premium articles for 24 hours. Only £1.

Free £50 gift card when you subscribe
Enjoy a free £50 gift card* for one of your favourite brands when you take out an annual subscription
*Gift cards will be sent out by email within 21 days of the subscription start date. Available in the UK Only.