Caesar Salad Turns 100 on July Fourth — We Think You Should Celebrate with This Recipe Featuring Hot Dog Croutons

"Hot dog buns are perhaps the perfect bread for creating croutons," says chef Mason Hereford. "They toast up to a light, crisp texture"

Victor Protasio Mason Hereford
Victor Protasio Mason Hereford's Caesar Salad With Hot Dog Bun Croutons

July Fourth is known for its burgers and red, white and blue desserts, but Caesar salad shouldn't be overlooked for the holiday.

The creamy and cheesy salad’s centennial celebration reportedly lands on Thursday, July 4, 2024. 100 years later and the salad's exact origin story continues to be disputed.

One non-negotiable about the Caesar salad's history is that it comes from Tijuana, Mexico but many attribute it directly to Tijuana's Caesar’s restaurant, per the New York Times.

According to the outlet, Caesar’s makes 2,500 tableside Caesar salads every week. Today’s salad served at Caesar’s strays from the dish created 100 years ago — at least for those who think the original recipe is from the restaurant’s founder Césare Cardini. The Italian immigrant moved to Mexico from the United States in 1920 to open restaurants, like Alhambra Cafe and Caesar's, during America’s prohibition.

Some rumor that Cardini's original recipe came from the mother of one of his cooks, Livio Santini, and included most of today’s ingredients — like romaine lettuce, egg, Parmesan cheese and croutons — but omitted the anchovies found in the modern version. Others say that Cardini first made a Caesar salad at Alhambra Cafe on July 4, 1924, two years before he opened Caesar's.

Related: Emma Hearst's Fruit Paletas Will Help You Beat the Fourth of July Heat

Those close to the key players add confusion to the recipe’s backstory. Cardini’s brother, Alex Cardini, claimed to be the salad’s creator. Santini’s youngest son, 71-year-old Aldo Santini, told the New York Times that he doesn’t believe the salad’s birthday and that the “date was set conveniently to match the biggest holiday of the U.S.A. — and to dispute my father’s legacy.”

<p>Getty</p> Caesar salad


Caesar salad

Despite its blurry history, Tijuana is holding a four-day festival to honor the Caesar salad’s 100th anniversary. But those who can’t travel to Mexico can celebrate the historic dish at home.

Many versions have graced the pages of PEOPLE. Salad lovers wanting to give it a spicy twist can try Chrissy Teigen’s Sriracha Caesar Salad. For one with more protein, make Robin Miller’s Steak Caesar Salad Wraps.

<p>Jen Causey</p> Steak Caesar Salad Wraps

Jen Causey

Steak Caesar Salad Wraps

But our favorite, thanks to its tie to the American tradition of eating hot dogs on July Fourth, is Mason Hereford's Caesar Salad with Hot Dog Bun Croutons (below).

"This is my go-to for awesome-everytime cooking," the chef-owner of Turkey and the Wolf in New Orleans told PEOPLE in 2022. "Hot dog buns are perhaps the perfect bread for creating croutons. They toast up to a light, crisp texture, which is an effortless delight to crunch through but still holds up in a nicely dressed salad."

But no matter what kind of Caesar you choose to make, we leave you with a tip: Keep your romaine cold until right before tossing and serving the salad. The fridge will keep the lettuce crunchy and crisp, creating a delicious contrast to the creamy dressing.

Mason Hereford's Caesar Salad with Hot Dog Bun Croutons

6 hot dog buns, cut into 1-in. cubes

⅓ cup plus 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1½ Tbsp. garlic powder

1½ tsp. kosher salt, divided

2 tsp. black pepper, divided

8-10 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained, plus more for serving (optional)

3 medium garlic cloves

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp. lemon zest and 6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (from 3 lemons), divided

1 cup mayonnaise

6 oz. Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1½ cups), divided

4 hearts of romaine, trimmed and torn into 2-in. pieces

1 cup thinly sliced red onion (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 300°. Toss cubed buns with ⅓ cup olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet until evenly coated. Add garlic powder and 1 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper; toss to coat. Spread bread cubes into an single layer on the baking sheet.

2.  Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and crunchy, 45 to 55 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through. Cool completely on pan, about 20 minutes.

3.  Combine anchovies, garlic, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon zest, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon pepper and ½ teaspoon salt in a blender. Process on high speed until mostly smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a medium bowl; stir in mayonnaise and 1 cup Parmesan until well combined. Taste and add more lemon juice, if desired. (Dressing will keep in an airtight container in refrigerator for about 2 weeks.)

4.  Toss together romaine, 1 cup of the dressing and remaining 3 tablespoons lemon juice in a large bowl until coated; add croutons and remaining ½ cup Parmesan; toss again. Sprinkle with additional black pepper, and serve with sliced onion and anchovies if desired.

Serves: 8
Active time:
20 minutes
Total time:
1 hour, 25 minutes

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Read the original article on People.