A Caesar salad (also spelled Cesar and Cesare) is a green salad of romaine lettuce and croutons dressed with lemon juice (or lime juice), olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce, anchovies, garlic, Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper.
The salad's creation is generally attributed to restaurateur Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who operated restaurants in Mexico and the United States. Cardini was living in San Diego but he was also working in Tijuana where he avoided the restrictions of Prohibition. His daughter Rosa recounted that her father invented the salad at his restaurant Caesar's (at the Hotel Cesar) when a Fourth of July rush in 1924 depleted the kitchen's supplies. Cardini made do with what he had, adding the dramatic flair of the table-side tossing "by the chef." A number of Cardini's staff have said that they invented the dish.
According to Rosa Cardini, the original Caesar salad (unlike his brother Alex's Aviator's salad, which was later renamed to Caesar salad) did not contain pieces of anchovy; the slight anchovy flavor comes from the Worcestershire sauce. Cardini was opposed to using anchovies in his salad.
In the 1970s, Cardini's daughter said that the original recipe included whole lettuce leaves, which were meant to be lifted by the stem and eaten with the fingers; coddled eggs; and Italian olive oil.
Although the original recipe does not contain anchovies, modern recipes typically include anchovies as a key ingredient, which frequently is emulsified in bottled versions. Bottled Caesar dressings are now produced and marketed by many companies.
The trademark brands "Cardini's", "Caesar Cardini's" and "The Original Caesar Dressing" are all claimed to date to February 1950, although they were only registered decades later, and more than a dozen varieties of bottled Cardini's dressing are available today, with various ingredients.