In 1924 Caesar Salad was created by an Italian American chef, Caesar Cardini, at the Caesar Hotel in Tijuana. It’s possible that anchovies weren’t used in the original recipe but there was definitely no mayonnaise or vinegar. I posted a Caesar Salad recipe in the past but this one is a little more authentic.
1 clove of garlic
½ tsp black pepper
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
5 anchovies finely chopped
2 tbsp of lemon juice
1½ tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup Parmigiana cheese
1 egg yolk
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
A day-old loaf of Italian bread
3 tbsp olive oil for croutons
Salt and pepper to taste
2 medium heads of romaine lettuce with the outer leaves removed
Extra Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to grate onto the salad
Dressing: (ingredients 1 to 9)
Mash the garlic clove, black pepper, mustard and anchovies in a mortar and pestle until it forms a paste. When it’s well mashed, add in the Parmesan a bit at a time until well incorporated. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and mix in the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.
In another bowl, separate the egg yolk from the egg white and beat the yolk.
Mix the beaten egg yolk in with the rest of the ingredients that you’ve already mixed together. Mix in the ½ cup of olive oil into the other ingredients.(You can double the amount of ingredients and refrigerate half of the dressing for use at another time.)
Croutons: (ingredients 10 to 12)
Cut or tear the bread into ½ to 1-inch cubes and place in a bowl (about 3 cups). Add the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix the bread with the oil, tossing until it is all well coated.Spread the coated bread in a single layer in a pan and cook over medium high heat, shaking the pan a few times, for about 5 to 8 minutes until the bread pieces are crisp and slightly browned.
Assembly: (ingredients 13 & 14)
Remove some of the outer leaves and cut the Romaine into one-inch strips. Add it to a salad bowl and pour in enough of the dressing to coat the lettuce. Add the croutons, some grated cheese, toss again and serve.
A few weeks ago, I posted a recipe for Anchovy Tomato Sauce that I got from a pizzeria chef I know. I thought it was pretty good. A friend of mine showed it to his Sicilian grandmother who, to put it mildly, didn’t approve of it. The differences in the two recipes don’t seem too extreme to me but to her, there’s a world of difference. Out of respect for Nona Filomena, I’m posting her recipe. I tried them both and prefer Nona’s.
Filomena didn’t exactly give me a breakdown of ingredients and preparation so I’ll paraphrase our phone conversation and fill in a few blanks.
“You start with a small can of alici (anchovies) in a frying pan with some oil (olive). When they start to dissolve, put in your garlic (2 cloves) finely chopped so you don’t mistake it for a pinole. You cook that a little bit (5 minutes)and then put in a small can of paste (6 oz.). Stir it until it absorbs the oil and then a little of the pasta water to thin it, but not too much. Put in the pinoles (pine nuts) and currants (about 1/3 cup each). Now, a little sugar (two teaspoons) to cut the acid of the tomatoes. Let it cook until it’s done (about 20 minutes) and maybe if you need it, a little more pasta water. You should taste it then. There’s probably enough salt from the alici but if you like it salty you might want more. No cheese with this but you put a bowl of fried breadcrumbs on the table and people help themselves.”
A few of Nona Filomena’s comments:
No parsley in this sauce. It doesn’t belong.
You make this with fettuccine. No other kind of pasta.
You don’t put the toasted breadcrumbs in the sauce as it’s cooking because they get soggy. You want them crisp.
It’s all right to finish cooking the fettuccine in the sauce but if you’re making two or three pounds when the whole family is coming, you don’t have to do that.
Anchovy Tomato Sauce – (pasta con acchiughe e pomadoro)
I’m not going to try to convince anyone who doesn’t like anchovies to eat them. Just keep in mind that anchovies dissolved in sauce like this aren’t the same a eating them directly from the can. Give it a try – you might like it. I called it ????? Tomato Saucein the subscriber email so you anchovy haters wouldn’t ignore it.
Put up apot ofwater for the 1 lb. of pasta – spaghetti or perciatelli is good with this sauce.
Put the anchovies and oil from the can into a large pan with an additional ¼ cup of olive oil. Add the garlic, pepper and half of the parsley and sauté on a low heat until the anchovies dissolve.
Add tomato paste and after it’s blended in with the garlic and oil and caramelized, add the water. Blend and simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes. Check for seasoning – the anchovies are salty so you shouldn’t need any more salt.
When the pasta is almost done add it to the pan with the sauce to finish cooking. Add some pasta water to thin the sauce. Mix in the coloratura di alici, half of the breadcrumbs and remaining parsley just before serving. Serve with the remaining breadcrumbs.
Taken verbatim from the 1861 Book of Household Management, by Isabella Beeton, Chapter XXXIII. Milk, Butter, Cheese and Eggs. I followed the “Mode” exactly, whisking over low heat until it thickened. The flavor was reminiscent of eggs Benedict. My father’s version of Scotch Woodcock is scrambling eggs with anchovies and milk, frying in butter and serving it on toast (see below). He said Scotch Woodcock was a late night snack that used to be served at bars in the 1930s and 40s along with Welch Rarebit.
My father’s recipe:
Sauté five or six chopped anchovies in four pats of butter and then add 1/4 cup of milk. Let it rest off the heat for about five minutes. Reheat, add four scrambled eggs and cook until done. Serve it on toast, salt and pepper.
My Aunt Lena got this recipe from a chef in Salerno. He told her the idea was that a woman could be out with her boyfriend all day and serve this to her husband when he got home – with him thinking that it took her all day to cook it when it wasn’t cooked at all.
4 large tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped basil
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
Salt & coarse black pepper
½ cup olive oil
Put the tomatoes in boiling water for a few minutes until the skin cracks, then run cold water over them and peel off their skin. Cut them in half across the core and squeeze out the seeds. Finely chop and put them in a large serving bowl. Add garlic, basil, parsley, salt & pepper and cover with ½ cup of olive oil.
A few optional additions: chopped anchovies, drained capers, chopped olives.
The ingredients should all be at room temperature before mixing with 1 lb. just cooked spaghetti. The heat from the hot pasta will be all it needs.
Raw Puttanesca is kind of a light and delicate summery sauce that’s almost a salad, so no cheese unless you must.