Good Eats
Salad Daze.jpg
"Salad Daze"


Good Eats








Veni Vedi Vinaigrette

Hail Caesar Salad

Production Number



July 28, 1999

Episode Chronology


"The Egg-Files"


"A Bird In The Pan"

Related Titles

Exiled to bars, chopped and pre-packaged, drenched in noxious concoctions, the tossed salad deserves better. Alton Brown goes back to salad basics and pays homage to Caesar.


Alton states that salad was foraged for. He says salad gets its name from the Romans favorite dressing sal - lots of salt. He says Shakespeare coin the term salad days to mean youthful inexperience. A oil vendor and a vinegar maker are riding in a carriage and hit a bump. Some oil lands in the vinegar and they agree it taste good.

Alton states there are two types of salads, mild sweet lettuce and greens. He says a mesclun is a blend of about 12 or 15 young greens. He states today most young green mixes are erroniously called mescluns, come in bags, and are subpar. He says fresh greens should have crisp leaves with no blemishes or slimy spots. He adds that the more delicate greens will still be crisp, have bright color, and will not be wilted. He says romaine and radicchio should stand up straight without cracks along the ribs. He adds that wilted greens can be revived by soaking them in water. Doug Gallagher states that good soil is needed for lettuce. He says he uses compost with rock powder and oyster shells. He affirms the best lettuce comes from local farmers markets. Alton says to be gental with greens.

Alton says lettuce is still alive and lets off carbon dioxide. He remarks that lettuce still has dirt on it. He says to put in a sink full of water and the dirt will fall to the bottom. The Mad French Chef gets angry at Alton for cutting greens. Alton says that lettuce is like bubble wrap. He states cutting breaches cells and you get bruised edges. He conveys that tearing goes along the cells edge. He adds that washed greens stay crisp in the refrigerator. Alton states you should dry the greens afterwards. He says to use a salad spinner, and W suggests one with a spring loaded Archimedes screw. Alton says to store them wrapped in a paper towel put inside a plastic bag with the air sucked out.

Alton states that the vinaigrette contains vinegar, oil, and salt. He says vinegar wants to spead out and coat everything, while oil wants to bead up and roll away. He adds they can work together with a emulsifier like egg yolk, mustard, or brute force. He remarks you need a cocktail shaker that's glass, not plastic. He adds fats tend to cling to plastic. He says the rule for vinaigrette is a 3 to 1 oil to vinegar ratio. He starts with red wine vinegar and a smooth dijon mustard. He adds kosher salt, cloves of garlic, and black pepper. He disolves the salt and intergrates the mustard. He next adds oil and an extra shot of mustard. He shakes and says the vinegar breaks up into tiny droplets and suspend into the oil, making a cream texture. He adds the mustard prevents the droplets from rejoining.

Alton states that dressings stick to dry leaves better than wet ones. He puts dressing on the bowl bottom. He has 4 servings and tosses the leaves with clean hand until they're coated. He serves it immediately on a chilled plate.

Alton states that during prohibition in 1924 in Tijuana, that Chef Caeser Cardini decided to cut his staff's workload by creating a dish made at tableside. Cardini took inner leaves of two heads of romaine lettuce and dressed them with extra virgin olive oil, lemon, dashes of worcestershire sauce with grated parmesan cheese and garlic croutons.

Alton takes a day old loaf of Italian bread and cuts it into cubes. It's put into an oven to dry out. A small sauce pan is put on to boil. Using whatever handy, three cloves of garlic are mashed along with extra virgin olive oil and kosher salt. After the croutons dry, they are thrown into a skillet with the oil strained into it and fryed until it is absorbed and the croutons are brown. Room temperature eggs are added to the boiling water for a minute and then chilled.

Alton states that Caesar salad is best made tableside with witty words. Extra virgin olive oil is added to coat the leaves. A heavy pinch of kosher salt is added along with coarse ground pepper and the last of the olive oil. It's tossed. For the acid part he squeezes some fresh lemon and adds three shots of worcestershire sauce and tosses again. There are no anchovies in caesar salad but worcestershire sauce does have them. He adds the coddled eggs. One minute eggs are not raw but not cooked. Eggs can carry salmonella but it's 1 in 20,000 eggs. Bad storage at the wrong temperature and letting them sit around can increase your chances. It's tossed until the dressing becomes creamy. Parmesan or romano cheese is grated. Garlic croutons are added and the salad is tossed.


  • The Average American eats 30 Lbs. of lettuce a year.
  • The darker the leaf the more nutritious the green.
  • Vinaigrettes can also be emulsified with pureed vegetables.
  • Shortly after it's invention, Caesar's Salad was hailed by the International Society of Epicures as America's greatest dish in 50 years.


Alton Brown ... French Oil Vendor/Maitre D'

John Crow ... Male Caesar Salad Date/Waiter

Doug Gallagher ... Organic Farmer (Himself)

Steve Rooney ... French Vinegar Maker/The Mad Chef

Vickie Eng ... W

Stephanie Boyd ... Female Caesar Salad Date


Anchovy, Arugula, Bacon, Black pepper, Boysenberry vinaigrette, Bread, Butter lettuce, Cheese, Crouton, Garlic, Dijon mustard, Egg, Egg yolk, Endive, Escarole, Extra virgin olive oil, Frisee, Italian bread, Kosher salt, Lemon juice, Lettuce, Mustard, Oil, Parmesan, Pepper, Radicchio, Red wine vinegar, Romaine, Salt, Sea salt, Table salt, Vinaigrette, Watercress, Worcestershire sauce


Cocktail shaker, Mortar and pestleSpinner


Boiling, Chilling, Coating, Cutting, Crushing, Drying, Folding, Frying, Grating, Grinding, Mashing, Shaking, Slicing, Soaking, Straining, Tearing, Tossing


Dressing, Grade A, Green, Head, Leaf, Mild sweet lettuce, Mesclun, Organic, Oyster shell, Salad, Salad green, Vegetable, Vinaigrette, White cap, Wilt


Acid, Air, Archimedes screw, Bacteria, Breathing, Carbon dioxide, Cell boundary, Cellulose, Compost, Centrifuge, Cup (measurement), Droplet, Emulsification, Fertilizer, Metabolism, Mineral, Moisture, Molecule, Nutrient, Ounce, Oxygen deprivation, Particle, Ratio, Rehydration, Rock powder, Salmonella, Soil, Surface moisture, Surface tension, Suspension, Tablespoon (measurement), Teaspoon (measurement), Temperature, Vitamin, Water


International Society of Epicures


1607, 1924, 1953, 1990s, America, American, Caesar Cardini, Chicago, Dean Martin, Elizabethan, Elizabeth Taylor, French, French (language), Hollywood, Prohibition, Provencal, Romans, Richard Burton, Science fiction film, Tijuana, Lava lamp, Louis XIV, Norman Bates, Volare wagon, William Shakespeare

Visual Aids[]



Title Origin[]

"Salad Days", phrase taken from Shakespeare's play Antony And Cleopatra Act I, Scene V:

"Cleopatra: My salad days, When I was green in judgment: cold in blood, To say as I said then! But, come, away; Get me ink and paper: He shall have every day a several greeting, Or I'll unpeople Egypt."