Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Caesar Salad and Homemade Croutons (for 6 or 50)

There are salads... and then there are salads.

Caesar Salad is a classic.
And a potential slapstick comedy routine.
Who could forget Lucy trying to make one while in a moving trailer in
the 1954 movie The Long Long Trailer?

Even though Lucy's movie was one of the major influences on my life, I'd never gotten around to making a Caesar Salad.
No, I don't know why.

Charmaine Bucco, Artie's better half, also has a chapter in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook.
Charmaine worked in their restaurants Vesuvio and its successor, Nueovo Vesuvio.
Her chapter is called Cooking for the Whole Famiglia.
And she isn't kidding.
Her recipes come with ingredient listings for your usual 4 to 8 and for 50.

I can relate to recipes for 50.
When I was a kid I'd been to quite a few multigenerational family gatherings.
Fifty was about an average family get-together crowd.
And I'm not counting pre-schoolers or infants.

These gatherings were usually in the summer, when we could sit outside.
McMansions weren't around in the 1950s.
Even if they were, we'd probably have been sitting outside.
We kids were in charge of turning the baby lamb on the spit.
Ah… those where the days.

Charmaine's recipe for Caesar Salad is fine as part of una bella mangiata.
A great meal.
Caesar Salad can also be a meal in itself.

Especially if you're still trying to get rid of those holiday pounds.

If you're making a salad for 50:
Place the prepared lettuce into a large clean plastic bag or two.
If you can fit 2 heads of lettuce in a bowl, toss it with 1/4 of the dressing.
Refrigerate the remaining dressing and prepare more salad as needed.
Yes, that's how they do it in restaurants.

                        Caesar Salad

Serves 6                                                                     Serves 50   

For the Croutons
Preheat oven to 325ยบ F

Cut into 1/2 inch thick cubes
6 slices Italian bread                                                4 to 5 loaves
Place the cubes in a single layer on cookies sheets.

Drizzle with
1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil                                 2 Cups
Toss the cubes well.
Bake, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
The bread should be a golden brown.
Set the croutons aside.

For the Salad

Place in a saucepan
1 large egg                                                                      8 large eggs
Cover with cold water.
Over medium heat bring to a boil.
Cook for 1 1/2 minutes.
Drain and cool egg(s) under running water.  Peel.

In a large bowl combine
1 large garlic clove, very finely minced                8 cloves
4 anchovy fillets, drained and chopped               5  2-ounce cans
Mash them into a paste.

Beat in
the prepared egg(s)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice                                         3/4 Cup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce                          3 Tablespoons
Salt and pepper to taste

Gradually beat in
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese                         4 Cups
1/3 Cup extra virgin olive oil                                  3 Cups
Taste for seasoning.

Wash, dry and tear into bite-sized pieces
1 head romaine lettuce (about 1 1/4 pounds)    8 heads
(for salad for 50, see above)
Toss the lettuce with the dressing.
Sprinkle with the croutons.
Toss again and taste for seasoning.
Serve immediately.

Would I make Caesar Salad again?
No, I don't know why it took me this long to try it.

One recipe down.  Forty-eight more to go.


  1. Anything from The Soprano's is a winner with me. This looks delish (said in a NJ accent like Carmela). I saw your link on Carole's Chatter.

  2. Hi, Jennifer! Thank you for visiting!
    I find it hard to believe you eat way too much cake - unless it's angel food cake!
    Love the pictures on your blog
    The Browned Butter and Salted Maple Sticky Buns look fantastic!

  3. Fantastic recipe! The best salad we have made at home yet! We added watermelon radishes on top, as well as some capers - a great addition! This one will definitely be sticking around in our kitchen for a while!


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