Southwestern Caesar Salad

 In All, Lunch

A Caesar with a Southwestern kick. 

Add grilled chicken or shrimp to make it an entree salad.

Serves 6

2 small or 1 large head Romaine lettuce, rinsed and dried

Red Chile Croutons (see below)

2 ears of fresh corn

3 red bell peppers

1 poblano pepper

1/2 cup grated Cotija or Parmesan cheese

Caesar Dressing (see below)

Place the corn, red and poblano peppers on grill* (flame should not be too high).  Keep turning the vegetables so that they evenly char, without burning.  Place peppers in a plastic bag, tie the top and let steam until cool enough to handle (about 15 minutes).  Pull off the skin by hand.  Remove stems, seeds and veins. Cut corn kernels off of the cob. 

Prepare dressing.  Tear lettuce into bite size pieces.  Place the torn lettuce in a salad bowl, add all ingredients except the dressing and combine.  Add the dressing and toss to coat the greens.  Portion salad on chilled plates and serve.

*The vegetables may be blackened over a gas range or under the broiler.

Caesar Dressing

3 large cloves garlic, chopped

6 anchovy fillets

3 large eggs (you can use an equivalent amount of pasteurized eggs, if preferred)

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

2 TB. Dijon mustard

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

3 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 cup grated Cotija or Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 cups good-quality olive oil

Combine all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor and blend for 1 minute.  Add olive oil slowly with the blender running. 

Red Chile Croutons

French bread

Olive oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. white pepper

1/2 tsp. chile powder

1/2 tsp. cumin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the bread into one inch squares and arrange on a cookie sheet.  Place in the oven and lightly brown.  Sprinkle olive oil lightly over croutons and place back in the oven for 1-2 minutes.  Combine spices and mix together.  Remove and sprinkle with the mixed spices on the croutons while they’re hot.

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