Friday, May 30, 2014

Summertime Cooking with Epicurean Butter: Grilled Caesar Salad with Roasted Garlic and Herb Croutons

Last November I had the pleasure of cooking with and reviewing some of Epicurean Butter's compound butter flavors. I really like using them because of their ability to elevate the simplest of dishes to gourmet status with minimal effort. I can honestly say that all of their flavors are exceptionally good. 

Probably like many of you, I have been making simple compound butters on my own for years. They are both easy to make and delicious, but on occasion I run into the problem of not having all the ingredients on hand to make a butter that would complement the dish I am making. Then it is off to the store to pick up my desired ingredients and $50.00 worth of things that I didn't realize I needed when I left the house. I am famous for that. I like it that Epicurean has already done the shopping for me.

Back in November it wasn't an easy decision which one of Epicurean's 14 flavors to use, but I chose their Chili Lime flavored butter in one of my favorite Tex-Mex dishes, pechugas de pollo. It really blew me away how great this dish was with just a couple of ingredients.  All I did was lightly season a couple of chicken breasts, seared them in my cast iron pan and added a dollop of butter on top to finish and BOOM, in 20 minutes dinner was ready.

Epicurean recently sent me some more of their butter and asked me to see what type of summertime grilling recipes I could come up with. Since we grill around here come rain, shine, snow, sleet or hail, I was up for the challenge, eventually deciding to work on something super simple that could be done on the fly after work.

So I started thinking that there isn't much I like more on a hot summer evening than a big salad. I then decided to reinvent my favorite Caesar by grilling the components and improving the flavor of the croutons with some of Epicurean's roasted garlic and herb butter. The resulting dish turned out to be smoky, flavorful and a great new way to think of this popular salad. I know once you try it, you'll love it.

If you'd like to make this recipe exactly as written and aren't quite sure where to buy Epicurean Butter, please click here to find out more information about this product including retail locations and how to order it online. These butters are readily available here in Colorado at King Soopers and Whole foods.  

  Grilled Caesar Salad with Roasted Garlic and Herb Croutons

3 tablespoons Epicurean Roasted Garlic and Herb butter, softened
4 - 1" thick slices of French or Italian style bread (day old if possible)
1 large head romaine lettuce, outside leaves removed, rinsed and dried, then cut in half if desired
Homemade Caesar dressing (for my recipe click here) or your favorite vinaigrette
2 tablespoons shaved or grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat grill to high.

Spread butter evenly on both sides of each slice of bread. Slice in half lengthwise, then in thirds across. If pieces are small enough to fall through the grill, thread them on skewers or toothpicks; set aside.

Spray the romaine lightly with non-stick cooking spray on all sides. Place the lettuce and croutons on the hot grill. Watching very carefully and turning often, grill them  until they are golden brown around the edges and the croutons are crunchy on all sides. This will only take a few minutes depending on how hot your grill is, so don't get distracted or walk off because they burn quickly. If the croutons are brown but still soft, move them towards the outside of the dry out. This can also be done in a low oven too.

Once cooked, remove lettuce and croutons from the grill and transfer to a cool surface. Once cooled, either chop the lettuce or cut it in half lengthwise. If chopped, toss with croutons and dressing and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, or drizzle lettuce halves with croutons, dressing and cheese. Serve.

Makes 2 large salads

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