The Shopper Kitchen: Caesar, Maurice and their famous salads
By Angela McRae, The Shopper Kitchen
One reason I so enjoy food history is that it always ends up being people history as well.
Take Caesar Salad, for instance. Ever wonder where Caesar Salad gets its name? Some say the salad was the creation of an Italian-American restaurateur, either Caesar Cardini or Alex Cardini, his brother, depending on your source. The story goes that the Cardini brothers lived in San Diego but operated a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, to get around that pesky Prohibition thing.
An article on Kitchenproject.com says, “According to Caesar’s daughter Rosa, on July 4, 1924 the salad was created on a busy weekend at Caesar’s Restaurant. It is said that Caesar was short of supplies and didn’t want to disappoint the customers, so he concocted this salad with what was on hand. To add a flair to this, he prepared it at the table.” The website acknowledges that the tale “is not certifiable,” and frankly, I don’t mind. I’m just glad that someone invented a delicious salad featuring Romaine lettuce, garlic, Parmesan cheese and croutons.
And now I’d like to introduce you to another salad named after a man, the famous Maurice Salad. Maurice was believed to be a chef at Hudson’s Department Store in Detroit, a store that I’ve learned meant as much to folks in Detroit as Rich’s and Davison’s meant to those of us who grew up shopping in Atlanta.
Whoever Maurice actually was, the Maurice Salad is one I enjoy eating, and the dressing is a recipe I like to make whether or not I’m actually pouring it over traditional Maurice Salad fixings. A special ingredient in this dressing is bottled onion juice. I’ve found it at several grocery stores here in Newnan, and you can usually find it near the vinegars. Should you have trouble finding the juice, however, scrape the bottom of an onion with a spoon, and you’ll be able to extract enough onion juice for this recipe.
If you’re looking for a light and easy dinner salad to try this summer, I hope you’ll give Hudson’s Maurice Salad a try.
Hudson’s Maurice Salad
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons onion juice
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons prepared Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped fine
1 hardboiled egg, diced
Salt to taste
1 head Iceberg lettuce, shredded
8 ounces ham, cut into strips*
8 ounces turkey breast, cut into strips*
8 ounces Swiss cheese, cut into strips*
1/2 cup miniature Gherkin pickles
8-12 green olives with pimientos
* Note: Use 1 pound each of the ham, turkey, and Swiss cheese if you want to make hearty, entree-sized salads.
Combine vinegar, lemon juice, onion juice, sugar and mustards and mix well. Add remaining dressing ingredients and blend. Divide lettuce among plates and top with strips of ham, turkey and cheese. Add pickles and garnish each salad with 2 olives. Top with dressing. Yields 4-6 salads.
Angela McRae is a freelance writer and editor from Newnan, and you can find out more about her work at angelamcrae.com. Email questions and comments to her at [email protected].