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Super Bowl Caesar Salad Cups

February 02, 2011 - Linda Grasso

IMG_0740 There's nothing like a great caesar salad when you are craving lotsa flavor or serving something spicy like my Tangy Tex Mex Chili. With Super Bowl Sunday coming up, I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite recipes.  This particular one is terrific for a football gathering because the salad is served in small, toasted bread cups.  The cups basically take the place of the croutons and, in doing so, make the salad a finger food hors d'oeuvre.  Who really wants to wash dishes after a football bash?  

In keeping with the spicy dish theme, the dressing I'm sharing has a delicious kick to it. It's a concoction of my friend Kathy Couturie's.  She served it while we were visiting her beautiful historic home in Ojai (the famous Libbey estate) and I ate so much of it, I hardly had room for anything else!  



Kathy adapted it from a recipe she got from the old City restaurant on LaBrea in LA.   Kathy omits egg and whole anchovies, which are in the original recipe.  Instead she uses anchovy paste and she adds some really savory seasoning salts described below. 

I'm giving you the recipe as Kathy makes it, but if you are making my bread cups to serve the salad in, forgo the croutons in her recipe. 

Ojai Caesar Salad

In a blender, combine 1/2 cup high quality olive oil with lots of cracked
black pepper and a squeeze of anchovy paste.  Blend for a while, about 1
minute.  Add 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (I use Kraft or Trader Joe's), and blend
for about 15 seconds.

Reserve 1/3 cup of this mixture for use in making croutons later.

In a 2+ cup mixing cup or a bowl, combine:
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon dry mustard
1-2 Tablespoons celery salt (I use "Coastal Goods" - really fabulous
seasoning salts)
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed
3-4 shakes Worcestershire
2-3 shakes Tabasco sauce

Slowly whisk the remaining olive oil mixture into the vinegar mixture to
make salad dressing. It's okay to keep in 'frig until 1/2 hour prior to using.
I take dressing out of 'frig to get it more liquid-y prior to serving. It tends 
to get pretty thick when refrigerated for long.  Dressing is better if
you make it in the morning and it sits on itself in the 'frig all day.

Make croutons: in a bowl, combine 2-3 Cups bread cubes (we use ciabatta)
with 1/3 cup olive oil mixture that you reserved from the blender. Bread
cubes should be pretty evenly coated with olive oil mixture.  Toast croutons
in a toaster oven, or pan-fry in a skillet until brown and crispy.  Reserve
until serving.

To serve:
Ideally use organic Romaine lettuce.
Wash, spin and tear lettuce to size you like.
Whole leaves, if you have smaller Romaine, make a beautiful salad (a la
Zuni Café in San Francisco).
Either drizzle the dressing over whole leaves, or toss torn lettuce w/the
dressing. Add freshly ground pepper, grated good quality Parmesan (NOT
Kraft/TJ's!), and croutons.  Toss all together and serve!

Linda's Bread Cups

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Get some Wonder Bread.  Yeah, I know it feels weird to get white bread, but do it because the wheat or 9 grain doesn't work.

Press a water glass down on bread and cut out circle.  Put circle in muffin tin.  

45170dd997e735febe57a4ac9adc872d-1 Brush with olive oil. I use organic Garlic Gold Oil or the organic Garlic Gold Nuggets marinated in olive oil sold at the SheSez store.  


Garlic Gold Trio, $19 - buy now at the SheSez store!

Bake for 40 - 45 minutes until cups are golden and crispy. Take one out and make sure it is not chewy. It should be crispy like a crouton.  Everyone's oven, it seems, requires a different time on baking these cups. So really check these at around 40 minutes and pop in for another 10 or 20 if needed.

Let cups cool and then fill with salad.  I tend to really chop up lettuce leaves - almost like a chopped salad - because they fit better in the cups.

Grate Parmesan cheese on top.  

The Couturie's home in Ojai, the historic Libbey Estate. Click here to see photos.


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