It is commonly believed that Caesar Cardini invented the Caesar salad in the 1920s at a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico called Caesar’s Restaurante Bar at the Caesar Hotel.
According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, these are the ingredients being used to make the salad today. These ingredients reportedly stay true to the original recipe and serve four:
20 romaine lettuce leaves
3 tablespoons minced anchovies
3 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
4 large oven-baked garlic croutons
Fresh ground black pepper
You can see the original being made in the video below where the owner of the restaurant states that they use Parmesan Reggiano in the salad. The Parmesan Reggiano is used not only to create the salad dressing but also to top it prior to serving it.
The Cheese In Caesar Salad
So, as you’ve learned, if you want to keep to keep your Caesar salad authentic, use Parmesan Reggiano. This cheese is produced exclusively in specific regions of Italy. The production of it follows a precise and traditional process that adheres to strict regulations regarding the quality of ingredients, production methods, and aging conditions.
You can also use the often cheaper Parmesan cheese. The term “Parmesan” is a more generic name used to refer to a similar type of cheese produced outside of Italy. While it may share similarities with Parmigiano-Reggiano, Parmesan is not bound by the same geographic restrictions or production regulations. Producers outside of Italy may use pasteurized milk and might employ different aging processes, resulting in variations in flavor and texture.
Caesar Salad Cheese Alternatives
Is it still a Caesar salad if you sub out the Parmesan? Well, it’s certainly not authentic but that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with other cheeses in your Caesar salad.
Take a look at these tasty cheese alternatives that could be a great match for you:
- Pecorino Romano: It’s a bold alternative for people seeking a slightly bolder flavor. Pecorino Romano presents an interesting alternative to Parmesan. This Italian cheese is made from sheep’s milk and is excellent for grating. It is often described as hard, salty, and sharply flavored. The uniqueness of Pecorino Romano adds depth to the salad, creating a more complex and sophisticated culinary experience.
- Asiago: If you prefer a milder cheese that doesn’t overpower the other ingredients, Asiago could be the perfect fit for you. With a nutty and slightly creamier flavor, Asiago brings a subtle richness to a Caesar Salad. Asiago that is aged longer, will have a sharper flavor. It blends seamlessly with the dressing. In fact, this cheese works so well in a Caesar salad that brands like Brianna’s make Caesar dressing that contains this cheese.
- Gouda: This cheese originated in the Netherlands. Young gouda is generally mild and slightly sweet with a softer texture. As gouda ages, its texture hardens and its flavor is typically considered nutty and buttery with some slight notes of caramel. Smoked Gouda introduces a delightful smokiness that can elevate the salad to new heights by providing unique flavor not always expected in a salad.
- Blue Cheese: Moving into more adventurous territory, blue cheese offers a bold and creamy element to a Caesar salad. This pungent cheese pairs exceptionally well with the tangy Caesar dressing and the addition of chicken to this type of salad. Crumbled blue cheese will certainly standout in the salad, which means a little will go a long way.
In the quest for the perfect Caesar salad, the choice of cheese plays a pivotal role in achieving a satisfying flavor profile. There is a reason why Parmesan has been the cheese of choice of this salad for 100 years.
It’s flavor is simply the best with the other ingredients that make up this classic salad. It is what most people expect to taste when they order this salad and most restaurants.
However, there are certainly alternative that many people find tasty. Experimenting with different cheeses allows you to tailor the salad to your personal taste preferences, ensuring a delightful meal for you and your family!