Friday, September 10, 2010

Caesar Salad & Garlic Bread

And yes, those croutons are homemade too.  This meal is so light and delicious, but definitely fills you up.  I'm so glad that I finally made a Caesar salad from scratch.  I found a recipe that doesn't call for mayonnaise because generally, I hate the stuff.  The dressing really turned out perfectly, but it only will if you aren't afraid of the anchovy!  That is the distinctive flavor in Caesar dressing.  Don't let it gross you out.  Embrace it.  It really makes a wonderful salad.  The croutons were crunchy and amazing, and the garlic bread had an awesome flavor.  This whole meal took almost no time at all, which means you should make it very soon.

Caesar Salad
dressing recipe from Once Upon A Plate

Romaine lettuce
1 medium garlic clove
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley, packed (I omitted this, but I would put it in next time)
3 canned anchovy fillets or 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste (I used the paste)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sour cream

With machine running, drop garlic through feed tube of food processor and mince (if you don't have a food processor, you can use a blender).  Add Parmesan, parsley, anchovies and lemon juice.  Process into a paste.  Transfer to a bowl and fold in the sour cream.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Toss with romaine lettuce and top with freshly ground black pepper and a little Parmesan cheese.  Serve with croutons (recipe follows).


1/2 loaf day old French bread
Olive oil (approximately 1/4 cup)
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Optional: Parmesan cheese, dried herbs, garlic powder (I left mine plain)

Preheat oven to 350.  Cut bread into 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch cubes.  You can make them bigger or smaller, just try to make them the same size so that they cook evenly.  In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with enough olive oil to lightly coat.  Add salt, pepper and any seasonings you prefer.  Pour bread onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until bread is golden and very crunchy.  Toss cubes several times during baking.

Garlic Bread

1 loaf French bread
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (I omitted this, but would add it next time)
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 400.  If using a food processor, combine the garlic (cloves can be whole) and olive oil. Process until the garlic is minced. Next add the softened butter and process for another 30 seconds. Add fresh parsley and process once more until the parsley is in small pieces. Add a pinch of salt, taste and adjust to your liking.

If you are not using a food processor, mince the garlic with a knife. In a bowl combine the garlic and softened butter. Stir in the olive oil. Mince the parsley and stir it into garlic/butter/oil mixture. Add a pinch of salt, taste and adjust to your liking.
Slice the baguette in half lengthwise and open it so that both cut sides are facing up. Spread the butter/garlic mixture evenly over the cut surface. Bake the bread for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees. Every oven is different so keep a close eye on it. Take the bread out when it is a deep golden brown on the edges.
Cut the bread into 2-inch wide pieces and serve with a saucy Italian meal!

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