Preview of Next Week's Themes

May  7, 2010

Starting Sunday at midnight, you can submit recipes to compete for Your Best Salmon and Your Best Caesar Salad.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • saenyc
  • fiveandspice
  • mrslarkin
  • thirschfeld
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


I saw this morning this thread had 52 comments and thought I'd see what I was missing! I thought: Really? I mean I love both, but are salmon and Caesar salad that provocative?? So I read through it and realized this is one of the many reasons I love this food website. Aside from pure entertainment value, I really hadn't considered Caesar Salad so controversial. It's been so commoditized by almost every restaurant around as it's rare NOT to find someones rendition of it on a menu. Soon, you start to accept the bland, homogenous blur of Caesar salads and forget the original that offered up the umani flavor that the anchovy brings and the touch of richness and texture of the egg. So thanks for making me think about my food (again) and I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing what everyone posts: without or without anchovies and eggs!! Oh, and thanks for such a lively, entertaining thread to read! Bring it on!
saenyc May 10, 2010
I haven't been around for long, but I'm so happy I ended up here, not just because this a place to discover very cool and delicious new recipes, but also to be among a community of passionate food-lovers, who seem to truly care about ingredients and tradition and the environment... all while embracing the real pleasure of eating and sharing great food. Love this banter, love this site!
Amanda H. May 10, 2010
Welcome! And for anyone who doesn't yet know saenyc, check out his delicious Wild Ramp Pesto (my twins just had it mixed with Israeli couscous for lunch).
fiveandspice May 10, 2010
I'd like to echo Mrslarkin, food52 is inspiring. I just want to say that it's great to see a community in which a fiery, or potentially provocative, debate does not become nasty. I've only just barely joined the community, but have already seen several instances of real congeniality that are totally awesome! And I hope not to severely offend anyone with the ways I may or may not get creative with making a Caesar salad! ;)
pierino May 10, 2010
Welcome fiveandspice! You have it right. We don't flame people here like Chow Hound does. The discussion is always civil even if we disagree on components or food history. Possibly I'm the baddest of the bad boys here but I'm still nice to everyone else because I respect them and respect what we are all reaching for. And Alton Brown still looks like a celery root.
Amanda H. May 10, 2010
Yes, as Pierino notes, we welcome extremes (even encourage them!) as long as they come with civility.
mrslarkin May 9, 2010
Am enjoying reading these threads. Pierino, you are an entertaining pain-in-the-butt. I thoroughly enjoy all of your recipe submissions. I hope you continue to submit and won't get bored to death amongst the "soulless". But, p.s., I thoroughly enjoy everyone elses recipes, too. So, a collective "thank you" to everyone for making food52 so inspiring.
pierino May 9, 2010
Ma'am it's my job to be a pain in the butt. Because I take it all very seriously. And I remain a committed (possibly we should be committed) member of the fambily. I want to see Aliwaks wack Kimball's behind in the competition. Why? Because I do care. Like a lot.
But I also care about the food I put out in front of you all. I'm tough as nails and I'm not ever going to go all cuddley, huggley on you. You might thank me for that later. But maybe not.
I'm certainly not trying to stir up trouble, I just happen to have my game face on at the moment, black stripes under my eye sockets and all.
I'm just old school, I guess.
thirschfeld May 9, 2010
I think it is great that something as simple as a caesar salad can bring out such passion. Can't wait to see all the different recipes.
thirschfeld May 9, 2010
Oh and to anybody who feels afraid to submit a recipe don't. Food like so many other things is totally subjective and is always of the moment.
pierino May 9, 2010
Yes, please bring it alll on. I don't want to be cast in the role of the high school bully. I've dealt with enough of those guys myself. So step up and bring it! As they say in Italy, "Corragio"!!!
pierino May 9, 2010
Amanda, GID is my own short hand for gastro intestinal distress/disorder. Possible sources at the moment being raw eggs, romaine lettuce and farm raised salmon. A possible trifecta here if you're not careful how you handle the stuff.
Amanda H. May 10, 2010
A-ha, now I get it. Thanks.
Jennifer P. May 9, 2010
Choosing to use eggs, or not, anchovies, or not, has nothing to do with being a wimp or lack of guts. It is a matter of taste, and this site is supposed to pay homage to the creativity of homecooks. I have no problem with raw eggs, I have eaten most every part of the animal during my tenure at top NYC restaurants, BUT when I'm making my Caesar salad at home, I prefer either a cooked sauce (using a hollandaise cooking technique) or an egg-free version.

It is quite sad that some people view food with such a dictator approach instead of what it is meant to do—provide a means of comfort, nourishment and good memories.
pierino May 9, 2010
Well, we did once make Gordon Ramsay cry.
savorthethyme May 9, 2010
So exciting! I have some great Wild Alaskan Salmon and a few recipes in mind. We can submit more than one right?
Food52 May 10, 2010
dymnyno May 9, 2010
Monkeymom, I agree with you. I think that there was a little over reaction to possible tampering with a classic recipe that is perfect as it is. (a little guilty here myself) I like the Recipe Redux column that Amanda does in the NYTimes mag. She takes a recipe from the past and updates it via ingredients, history and chefs, comparing the old recipe with new cooking and popular new methods. (ex: cooking 1977 green beans for 7 minutes versus today's method of" crisp tender".) I have to admit sometimes I like the old way better than the new makes for interesting reading.
Amanda H. May 9, 2010
Thanks dymnyno!
pierino May 9, 2010
...and today's New York Times Magazine is a good example of how these things morph. Mimi Sheraton's Asparagus alla Fontina didn't included Fontina (it just means in Italian, in the style of Fontina). Amanda's update doesn't include either fontina cheese or gruyere and doesn't pretend to. Pierino will admit that he's the unapologetic Bonapartist/Maoist in the crowd. But this stuff does matter.
monkeymom May 9, 2010
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and to voice it. It is valuable to have pierino's voice heard, however cranky it may be. But I also hate to squelch the creative juices and interpretations of others. In the end, aren't we looking for something that TASTES really great? I say you have to eat it before you judge it. Perhaps A+M might consider making a new title for this theme - Caesar INSPIRED salads? I can't wait to see the variations...sissy, manly, fishy, whatever! As long as it tastes great.
Amanda H. May 9, 2010
Thanks for your thoughts, and please see our thoughts in the comment below -- definitely excited to see Caesar-inspired creations!
dymnyno May 9, 2010
I agree that a Caesar salad is an iconic recipe that in respect to Caesar Cardini is one basic recipe. Julia Child said that she saw the real Caesar Cardini making his salad at his restaurant. She cautions "But, if you don't want herbs and anchovies and things like that --then you have adulterated it." (The Way To Cook) I agree with Pierino that it is what it not call it a Caesar salad if it vegan or substitutes ingredients, etc. An example is how ridiculous it would be if it was made with something other than Romaine. The recipe was NAMED after a chef...despite what your local favorite restaurant does with it, some respect should belong to Caesar Cardini.
lastnightsdinner May 9, 2010
Semantics aside, clearly Amanda and Merrill feel that there is more than one way to make a Caesar, so why don't we just concentrate on putting our best out there and encouraging others to do the same? It's really troubling to me that there are people who feel intimidated to post their recipes because of comments in this thread - I'd expect more from this community.
Amanda H. May 9, 2010
Hi there -- we're looking for both classic recipes that incorporate an interesting technique or method and recipes that are inspired by Caesar salad. For instance, about 20 years ago, chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Miliken made a version in which the croutons were scented with anchovy. Not at all classic, but pretty great. Have fun -- and we look forward to seeing what you come up with!
pierino May 9, 2010
Susan and Mary Sue are two of my all time favorite chefs. I absolutely love the idea of flavoring the croutons with anchovy because it still completes the thought. When I submit my own recipe it might be a bit deconstructed but all of the elements; romaine, egg and anchovy, will be there in person.

In the thought crime department Cheesecake Factory used to serve a "Jambalaya Pasta" omitting the rice. The creole word jambalaya means "ham and rice". No rice, no jambalaya. That's simple isn't it? Can you see why Pierino is a Bonapartist?
ChefJune May 9, 2010
Only in America! imho there is only one Caesar Salad. and no way to bottle the dressing.
Bevi May 9, 2010
I was going to submit a Caesar without eggs, but it feels a little threatening in here right now. I really enjoy discovering how cooks in this forum make changes and accommodations. There are lots of people who either are allergic to eggs or do not feel safe eating a raw egg.
lastnightsdinner May 9, 2010
Please don't let pierino's crankypants scare you off! I think there's room for all types of Caesars here, and I'd love to see your recipe - I'm sure others would, too!
maryvelasquez May 9, 2010
pierino May 9, 2010
Pierino is not as cranky as you might think, just criminally obsessive about the basics. A caesar salad is pretty simple and straight forward. But if you omit one of the three basic ingredients it is no longer a caesar. If you take the O out of H2O it's no longer a water molecule. It's just that simple. If you remove the egg or the anchovy from the caesar it might still be a great salad, but call it something else.
Amanda H. May 9, 2010
Bevi, we look forward to your Caesar salad, with or without eggs!
littleclove May 8, 2010 we submit our recipes HERE? i have a killer salmon recipe i'd love to share. thanks.
pierino May 9, 2010
Isn't that just the problem right now? Salmon that kills.

You can add your killer recipe after midnight EDT Sunday. Hopefully nobody will die in the meanwhile. Or in the hereafter or the whatever.
Amanda H. May 9, 2010
Hi littleclove -- you can enter your recipe beginning at midnight tonight (ET). Just click on "Contests" in the main nav (after midnight) and there will be a button for submitting recipes, next to the Salmon theme. You'll have until next Friday at midnight to submit something. Glad you're thinking of joining a contest!
drbabs May 8, 2010
pierino May 8, 2010
I suppose I can now look forward to a week of eggless, anchovyless, romaineless, caesarless, soulless, caesar salads from the wimpola "my hubbie won't eat that" crowd. I guess I'm just annoyed after reviewing a week long list of sissy pizzas. Come on folks, step up and take one for the team. Don't go all foodphobic on us!
lastnightsdinner May 8, 2010
Think again, my friend.
pierino May 8, 2010
Pierino is thinking already, Ma'am. What you will get from me is a caesar with just a few minor tweaks and nothing sissy. I stay true to the original idea.
drbabs May 8, 2010
I meant, ouch.
pierino May 8, 2010
I wasn't picking on you ma'am. But the wimpified pizza recipes I looked at this week on my Droid left me shaky and panicky. Let's see, this past week on my trip to NYC I ate tripe (two ways), veal tongue, white anchovies, and admired the massive marrow bones served at a neighboring table. That's kind of where I'm coming from. And isn't that why we are in the arena against starched apron Cooks Illustrated? No guts, no glory. In my case literally.
drbabs May 9, 2010
Respectfully, pierino, one person's wimipfied may be another's family-friendly. And what one chooses to eat in a restaurant may be massively more adventurous than what one cooks for a family with varying tastes. And what I love about this arena is that there's a place for all of us--those like you who lovingly eat tripe and veal tongue, those like me who are trying to find ways to cook creatively for people whom we love while respecting their boundaries around food.
pierino May 9, 2010
Drbabs I am in fact in complete agreement with you. I've learned through my own experience that for example some people are genetically unable to taste anything but soap in cilantro, and now there is scientific evidence to support that. I've also reviewed the kasruth rules before cooking for observant friends.But what drives me nuts is that people won't even taste a food product they haven't even tried---tongue for example. My grandmother cooked it badly but even that didn't put me off of it when it's done right. A caesar salad necessarily involves romaine lettuce, anchovies and raw or barely poached eggs. Everything else is embellishment. If you remove one of those components it means you are eating at Applebee's.

Pizza, I really care about that. There are rights and wrongs here and mostly the latter. My frequent, loud voiced complaint is that people begin with a classic and then Gerberize it.
drbabs May 9, 2010
Well, I have to plead guilty to not tasting things that gross me out--tripe for example. And Applebee's--I think that grosses me out more. As you found out in our last exchange, I'm happy to be learning about food and cooking--that's exactly why I'm here. It's great that you're in a position to educate people--I read your recipes and writing carefully and always learn from you. I just think you could do it with a little more tact, pierino. (As you did when you correctly pointed out my error in calling my dip a tapenade--thank you for that.) No need to insult those of us who are trying to balance cooking well with feeding a family. Technical errors notwithstanding.
thirschfeld May 9, 2010
Correct me if I am wrong but I am thinking the only anchovies Mr. Cardini put in the original came by way of worcestershire sauce.
pierino May 9, 2010
As far as anchovies and Senor Tardini, the closest historical reference I have (I wasn't yet born when Caesar salad was invented) is the 1961 first edition of the NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK (from Mom's collection) and it calls for "a can of anchovies" weight not specified. Legend holds that this was something whipped up by a brilliant mind just right there on the spot, in Mexico not Italy.
pierino May 8, 2010
I'm thinking along the same lines as dymnyno. Farm raised salmon is one of the worst exhibits in the Museum of Aquaculture. I love salmon, but be prepared to pay top dollar for a wild caught, sustainable product. And I'm glad we're not doing shrimp or oysters just now.

Eggs aren't going to scare me away from an authentic caesar salad (by the way, don't try ordering one in Italy) but the romaine thing is a bit of a concern. Is this GID week on food52?
gluttonforlife May 8, 2010
There a joke in here about tossing your salad but I'm sure not going to make it...;-)
Amanda H. May 9, 2010
What's GID?
Jennifer P. May 7, 2010
Excited for this theme, and hope I have time to submit some recipes—I even have a vegetarian, egg-free Caesar recipe (and it is mighty delicious).
dymnyno May 7, 2010
Darn...I am gone most of next week...I love salmon...however, there is no wild salmon season in California....again.
Shaya May 7, 2010
caesar makers, beware: some romaine lettuce has been recalled.