Caesar salad has been a popular side dish or main course for decades now. It’s a simple blend of romaine lettuce, cheese and croutons, topped with an olive oil dressing with anchovies for added zing. This Southwestern version gives it a bit of heat, with a blend of unexpected ingredients, and without using raw eggs. The restaurant-style presentation will surely impress your dinner guests. You can also turn it into a tasty lunch by just adding grilled chicken or shrimp.
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SOUTHWESTERN-STYLE CAESAR SALAD Serves: 8
Ingredients For the Dressing: 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce + 1 teaspoon sauce 3 garlic cloves ¼ tsp. cumin seed 1 Tbsp. dijon mustard 2 tsp. anchovy paste 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice 1 shallot ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil ⅓ cup sunflower or vegetable oil Salt & pepper to taste
For the Salad: 2 heads of romaine lettuce 8 corn tortillas ½ cup grated asiago cheese vegetable oil for frying
Instructions For the Dressing: 1. Seed and mince the chipotle chili. 2. Mince or press the garlic cloves. 3. Finely chop the shallot. 4. Finely crush the cumin seed. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle you can use a spoon on a hard surface. 5. Add all the other ingredients except the oils and mix well. 6. Slowly add in the olive oil and sunflower oil stirring continuously until everything is blended. You can also shake it in a container before adding to the salad.
For the Salad: 1. Heat ½ inch of oil on medium high until a small piece of tortilla crisps in about 10 seconds. 2. Cut a 2 inch square out of each tortilla and one strip at the bottom so it will stand properly on a plate. Cut the excess sections into small strips as well. 3. Sprinkle with chili powder. 4. Fry each tortilla and the rest of the strips until crispy and golden and drain on paper napkins. 5. Separate the lettuce leaves, wash, dry and leave intact. 6. Take 4 or 5 large leaves and carefully slide through the hole in the tortilla keeping it upright and at an angle on the plate. 7. Sprinkle cheese and spoon 1-2 tablespoons of dressing on top. 8. Decorate the plate with the remaining tortilla strips, dots of dressing and thin slices of anchovies.
Note: You can place the leftover chilis in adobo sauce individually in an ice cube tray for later use.