December 20, 2009 | Breads, Condiments, Local Sources, One Dish Meals, Salads
I love leftovers. It might be the ability to simply eat something quickly when hungry without needing to even think about cooking. Or perhaps my involvement with Operation Frontline has sensitized me to any food waste. Whatever the motivation, I just enjoyed a great steakhouse-style caesar salad that is a perfect example of how leftovers can shine. It started with the steak I made last night using the last of my Snow Creek Ranch strip steaks. Now Snow Creek Ranch isn’t exactly local beef – it’s from Kansas – but it’s not that far away. It’s lovingly raised by “Doc” and sold by his daughter and son-in-law at farmers’ markets here in the Denver area. It’s unique in that it’s all natural, free-range, grass fed and finished with flax for a short period.
The grass is healthier for the animals (and results in beef with more healthy omega-3s for us) but the small amount of grain feeding at the end gives them a fabulous taste. While I’d like to say I only eat 100% grass-fed beef, I love the taste of this beef! I’ll warn you, it’s pricey – but remember what the CA rancher told me. It’s three times more costly to raise grass fed beef on the range than grain fed in CAFOs. So eat less beef than you’re use to, but eat something great when you do.
The other key ingredient to a great steakhouse-style caesar salad is a great crouton. I actually like a couple of brands of store-bought croutons, but when making dinner last night discovered that I didn’t have any croutons for our salad, but did have a loaf of leftover Italian bread in the freezer. I’ve previously written about how the Italians use leftover bread creatively, but in my rush to get dinner on the table last night, I took a short cut that turned out great. Check back later in the week for a pasta dish that will use these croutons!
- 1 loaf crusty Italian bread, cut into cubes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- Spread the cubed bread out on a foil lined backing sheet. Very liberally drizzle oil over the bread and toss with your hands to make all bread is coated in oil, adding more if needed. Sprinkle with garlic powder, then salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees until croutons are crisp and browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle again with salt. Store in a covered container when cooled.