Monday, September 12, 2005

Southwestern Caesar Salad with Chili Croutons

This salad is great with grilled chicken or shrimp, or just on its own.

Chili Croutons:
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 loaf French bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Caesar Dressing:
3 tsp. minced garlic
2 shallots, peeled
4 anchovy fillets
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, cored and seeded
2 cups loosely packed, chopped cilantro
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp lemon juice
salt
1 cup olive oil

Salad:
1 tsp olive oil
2 cups (about 3 ears) fresh corn kernels or frozen corn kernels, thawed
3 romaine lettuce hearts or 2 large heads romaine lettuce, torn into bite size pieces and chilled
2 red peppers, roasted peeled, seeded and cut into thin strips
1/2 cup drained, chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Croutons:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine melted butter, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Add bread cubes and toss to coat. Spread in single layer on baking pan. Bake 8 - 10 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Caesar Dressing:
In blender or food processor, combine garlic, shallots, anchovies, jalapenos, cilantro, vinegar, Parmesan, egg yolk, pepper, lemon juice, and salt to taste. Blend until smooth. With blender running, slowly add 1 cup olive oil and blend until smooth. Cover and chill.

Salad:
In skillet, heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Add corn and cook 4 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside. In large bowl, combine lettuce and half of the dressing. Toss to coat.
Add cooled croutons, pepper strips, corn, sun-dried tomatores, and Parmesan. Pass remaining dressing.

Makes a pretty large salad.

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