Monday, August 25, 2014

You've Never Had a Crouton Made with These!

Jennifer sent me some fresh grits from Georgia. She bought them at her local Farmer’s Market. I thought this salad would be a nice way to showcase those amazing grits. Make this for a potluck or serve as a main course. It goes a long way.

Southern Caesar Salad with Fried Grit Croutons
by Tracy
Adapted from Texas Caesar Salad on

2 1/2 cups milk
1 Tablespoon hot sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter
1 cup grits
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Nonstick cooking spray
Vegetable oil for frying

Bring, milk, hot sauce, garlic, cayenne, salt and butter to a boil over medium high heat. Whisk in the grits and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Do no stir. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Spray an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the grits in an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Cool the grits and then chill them in the refrigerator until ready to use. When ready, cut the grits into 1/2-inch cubes. Pour vegetable oil into a frying pan until it reaches about 1/2 inch high. Heat oil to 350°F. Fry the croutons in batches until they are golden. Set on a paper towel to drain.

Spicy Pecans:
1 cup pecan halves
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 Tablespoon Ancho Chili Powder

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Toss pecan halves with melted butter, cayenne, hot sauce and salt. Sprinkle on the chili powder and toss to coat again. Lay out pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Stir the pecans every 10 minutes to prevent burning. Remove from oven and let cool. Can be stored in an airtight container for several days.

1 cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 Tablespoons anchovy paste
2 teaspoons dried tarragon
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 jalapeno, seeds and veins removed
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup olive oil

Pulse all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Salt to taste. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
3 heads romaine lettuce, cored and torn into pieces
2 cups frozen white corn, thawed
1 jar (8.5 ounce) sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil., drained and sliced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
6 slices thick bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled.
Parmesan cheese for serving

When ready to serve, fry up the croutons. Toss the salad ingredients and spicy pecans with about 1/2 of the dressing. Portion onto individual plates and top with the croutons. Sprinkle more Parmesan and serve.

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