i’m happy that motorcycle weather has arrived again, and i’m even happier that i have a friend who gave my bike a fantastic tune-up in preparation for summer. apartment living doesn’t lend itself well to keeping my motorcycle out of the elements (dead spark plugs, dead battery, a little rust on the chain — ouch).
apartment living doesn’t lend itself well to cooking in the summer, either. our loft is on the second floor, and our super-tall windows act as a greenhouse to our living space… it’s toasty. and i can’t be bothered to stand over the stove when the kitchen’s clocking in at 81 degrees (whew) (i wish i were exaggerating).
so, woohoo let’s make a salad! fresh and summery, and perfect for a quick dinner.
here’s a great salad; everyone likes Caesar salads, right? some people aren’t crazy about/refuse to participate in the raw egg-yolk business. that’s ok; this dressing is as creamy and tasty as ever, but skips the egg yolk in favor of buttermilk. you won’t miss it! homemade dressing rules — and you are in control of what goes in it, no weird preservatives or ingredients you can’t pronounce (though i’ll admit: i have a tough time with “Worchestershire”). plus there’s the $$$ you save over “store-bought….” right? i’ve been making America’s Test Kitchen’s version of Caesar salad dressing for a few years now and it is always a winner. so yum!
you will have to turn on the stove to make the croutons, but they don’t take long, and they are so worth it! seriously, skip the packed cubes of sawdust from the grocery store… start with some leftover crusty, chewy bread, and these homemade croutons have amazing crunch and fantastic garlic flavor. pick up some hearty Romain lettuce from your local farm stand and a loaf of good bread from your favorite local bakery and make tonight’s dinner a salad!
caesar salad dressingadapted from America’s Test Kitchen
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- juice of 1 lemon (about 3 TBSP)
- 6 anchovy filets, or 2 TBSP anchovy paste
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp Worchestershire
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- coarse salt and pepper
blend first six ingredients in a a blender or food processor. with the motor running, add olive oil, blending until smooth. season to taste with salt and pepper. store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days (dressing will thicken as it chill).
- Romaine lettuce, chopped
- extra Parmesan cheese for serving
- garlic croutons (recipe below)
toss Romain with dressing, starting with a little, adding more as necessary. top with croutons and Parmesan.
- 1 small loaf ciabatta or other crusty, rustic bread
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 3 – 4 tablespoons olive oil
- coarse salt
cut the bread into cubes, or tear for a more rustic crouton.
in a large skillet, gently warm the olive oil and smashed cloves of garlic over medium-low. when warm and fragrant, after about 5 minutes, add the bread and toss to combine. increase heat to medium and cook, tossing occasionally, until browned and crisp. this could take around 20 minutes. aim to dry out the bread slowly, rather than browning it, so lower the heat if croutons are browning to quickly. sprinkle with salt, to taste. remove crushed cloves of garlic before serving (and snack on them, if you’re me). serve at room temperature.
these croutons will keep in an air-tight container at room temperature. if they lose their crispness, rewarm in a low oven or in a skillet.