salads and dressings

camilla’s taus mahal salad

Almost every evening, we precede each meal with a green salad of Camilla’s creation. It varies slightly over the week and with the current conceived girth of my waistline. It is listed in all its glory below, but various ingredients are omitted as weight increases. Even in full form, though, it is not particularly high in calories, as compared to some restaurant equivalents. But, to the weight-conscious, it can be adjusted to the needs of the day.

  • ½ handful* each of romaine, red lettuce, and green curly lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces, triple-washed, and drained
  • 2 small Roma tomatoes, cut into sixths
  • 2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp bell pepper, red, yellow, or orange
  • ¼ cup Asiago cheese, grated
  • ½ avocado, cubed
  • 2 tbsp bacon bits
  • 3 to 5 green olives, whole or chopped*
  • skinny cardini salad dressing

Assemble the ingredients in the order given, place in refrigerator until chilled, and serve.

Serves 2.

the original caesar salad

Elmer Dills, the late ABC TV Los Angeles Restaurant Critic often said “I never cease to be both amazed and dismayed at what many Southern California restaurants serve as a Caesar Salad. There’s only one and rather simple way to prepare the authentic Caesar Salad.” (More discussion appears in the preceding recipe for fat-free Caesar Salad dressing.)

There are others that claim that the real crux of the Original Recipe for Caesar Salad is in using whole Romaine leaves, not cutting or tearing them, and using a technique of rolling the leaves around in the dressing in the salad bowl instead of tossing of it. The original croutons were said to be made a special way that made them a meal in themselves and not just something out of a bag.

I do remember that until about 1995, fine restaurants used to mix and toss the salad at tableside. With a large wooden salad bowl, the waiter would rub the bowl with a clove of garlic, mix in the ingredients of the dressing, add anchovies if you desired them, stir in the coddled egg, add the lettuce, toss, add Parmesan, toss again, and, finally serve with the croutons on top.

Elmer claimed that the original did not contain anchovies. His version follows.

  • 3 medium heads of romaine lettuce, chilled, dried, crisp
  • dash low-sodium Worcestershire sauce
  • 5-6 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup home made croutons
  • pinch of <salt>
  • 1/3 cup garlic infused olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • juice of 1½ fresh lemons
  • 1 coddled egg
  • fresh ground pepper

The garlic infused olive oil can be made by putting 4-5 cloves of crushed garlic in 1½ cups extra virgin olive oil, covering, and letting sit for 4-5 days. You can also purchase the commercially packaged product to save time and effort, but it won’t be as good, he says. To coddle the egg, bring a small pan of water to a boil, insert the room temperature egg, take the pan off the heat, and, after one minute, remove it from the water.

Break the lettuce into 2” lengths. Pour garlic oil mixture over and sprinkle with <salt> and pepper. Gently, toss 4-5 times. Break the egg over the lettuce mixture; add the low-sodium Worcestershire sauce and the fresh lemon juice. Add the Parmesan cheese and croutons and toss once more.