Caesar salad with croutons
#100daysofcooking, Recipes

Lettuce eat: On day 25, Dan stages a crouton coup


Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons


It’s a topsy turvy world, folks. A xenophobic, mysoginistic kleptocrat is in the White House, the Oilers are in a playoff spot, and I have taken over our blog.

Actually, my lovely wife Therese (and hey, let’s give it up for her and the 100-day Kitchen Castoffs project) ceded control when she asked me to craft a guest post and then headed out the door for points unknown.

So I’m unsupervised. And I’m thinking salad.

Yes, I’m a bit of a badass.

And salad is sort of my thing. I like to make it, dress it, eat it. Caesar, Greek, wedge, steak, Waldorf — I love them all.

I usually like to build a dressing with seven or eight ingredients, a salad with at least that many. Don’t be surprised to find sriracha or horseradish sauce in the dressing, capers or dried cranberries in the salad. That’s how I roll.

I’m also a bread guy.

The Kitchen Castoffs project afforded me the chance to combine the two. I went for a relatively simple Caesar salad with croutons made from buns that, how should I put this, were less fresh than a Fox News political take.

They were Italian buns from The Real Canadian Superstore, and as such had been really quite delicious, when new. But there had to be 300 of them in the bag when I bought them pre-Trump inauguration and the six or seven remaining had been in the downstairs chest freezer long enough that the bodies of the buns were separating from the crust. And isn’t that a metaphor for the political situation in the USA?

Anyway, rather than feed birds with them, I decided to revive them as croutons. Nothing too fancy, and not nearly as good as some of the dishes Therese has crafted out of long forgotten ingredients, but you’ve read this far, so you might as well find out what I did with them.

It should be noted that I didn’t use an actual recipe for the croutons or the dressing. So there won’t be anybody to blame but me if it goes horribly wrong for you.

Caesar salad with croutons
Dan’s Caesar salad with croutons

Kitchen castoff used

Italian buns

This is how we did it

Ingredients

For the croutons:

  • 4 Italian buns, crust removed, rough chopped
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, infused with garlic
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • Dash of sea salt
  • Generous grind of black pepper

For the dressing:

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, infused with garlic
  • 3 wooden spoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 wooden spoon lemon juice
  • ½ tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ tsp anchovy paste
  • ½ tsp sriracha sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Generous grind of black pepper

For the salad:

  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, washed and sliced
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Method

Soak half a head of garlic, peeled and sliced, in a cup of extra virgin olive oil, for about three hours.

Set oven at 300 F.

Peel or cut off the crust, then chop the buns into bite-sized pieces and put them in a large mixing bowl. Add half the oil and mix well. Crumble the oregano and basil into the bowl, add the salt and pepper and mix well. Spread on a baking sheet, bake for 10 minutes, or until brown, remembering to flip them halfway through.

While they’re in the oven, start the dressing. Combine the egg yolk, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, anchovy paste, sriracha sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk well. Add olive oil slowly and whisk some more, until emulsified.

Wash and cut the Romaine lettuce length-wise, twice, then crossways into bite-sized chunks. Put lettuce into a large salad bowl.

Some people pour the dressing directly onto the salad, then add the croutons and cheese and toss. That’s fine, as long as you eat all the salad. If not, the dregs are so sodden that they’re headed for the garbage the next day. I put the croutons and cheese on top of the salad, but dress each bowl separately.


Curious about my “Kitchen Castoffs” concept? Here’s the explainer describing my 100-day project.

Are you enjoying these blog posts? If you are, share the joy and use one of the handy buttons on this page to post a link to Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Thanks!

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