What is Worcestershire Sauce in Caesar Salad?
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Worcestershire sauce is an intensely flavored, fermented blend that includes soy sauce, molasses, tamarind, garlic, onion, and anchovies and is used as a seasoning or condiment. Fermented sauces have a long history going back to ancient Rome and the legendary fish sauce condiment called Garum.
In 1835, Lord Marcus Sandys, an ex-governor of Bengal, approached Worcester chemists/grocers John Lea and William Perrins, to replicate his favorite sauce. Or so the story goes. They did and hated it. The unpalatable over run was stored in a basement. A year later the sauce when tasted had mellowed, hate became love, and big business. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce debuted in 1838. Worcestershire sauce is essential to a proper Caesar Salad. It is also an ingredient in Welsh rarebit, Bloody Mary cocktails, BBQ sauces, and adds that “certain something” to grilled hamburgers and steaks.
Caesar Salad Recipe (for 4)
Invented by restaurateur Caesar Cardini while chef at the Hotel Caesar’s in Tijuana. Original name — Propeller Salad for his brother, a pilot.
3 heads Romaine lettuce, torn
1 cup good olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1⁄3 baguette, cut into 1⁄4″ slices, or cubed
juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic
3-4 (or more) anchovies and a little oil from the tin
1 tbs. red wine vinegar
2-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 egg, coddled for about 1 minute slow boiling water
1⁄2 cup or so Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Trim about 1″ from the bottom of each head of lettuce and peel away dark green outer leaves (the longest leaves should be no longer than 7″). Save outer leaves for another use. Separate leaves, wash if necessary, then pat dry thoroughly with paper towels, gently tear them down to size and set aside.
Heat 2⁄3 cup of the oil with the garlic in a medium skillet over medium heat until garlic is pale golden, about 5 minutes, then remove and discard garlic. Fry bread slices in oil in batches until deep browned, 15–20 seconds per side. Drain croutons on paper towel, dust with a little grated cheese.
Mash together lemon juice, garlic and anchovy (and oil from tin) in a large wooden salad bowl. Beautiful when done table-side. Add vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce, crack coddled egg into bowl, and toss.
See also: Bacon on Salad: Michael Bacon’s Quest for the Perfect Caesar Salad