Make new friends, but keep the old…

I made a couple new friends this weekend. We met on Saturday morning at the grocery store. I knew I was going to bump into these two there at the store, the list in my hand told me so, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to have the guts to look at them. I was fully prepared to pull the old Oh, There’s Someone I Don’t Want to Talk To so I’m Going to Pretend to Concentrate Really Hard on This Display of Flour trick when I approached them in the aisles.

I was nervous. See, I haven’t exactly been warm toward these two in the past. One of these guys, I have just come right out and said I didn’t like them. Out loud. In a snotty way. In front of others. The other, I just flat out ignored.

Who did I make amends with this weekend? Who did I bond with over a cart with a wobbly wheel? Who did I invite into my home for a lovely summer meal? I think you’ll be surprised!

My first new friend? Cilantro. Yes. I know. I know! I can’t believe it either. My arch nemesis. Cilantro and I are friends now after this weekend! Squee!

My second new friend? Anchovies. It had never occurred to me to buy them before and they’d basically gone unnoticed until now. They’re a little…stand-offish, don’t you think? All packed down in that little can, lifeless and oily. Not exactly friendly if you ask me. But, I think they’re just shy. Because these guys brought a whole bunch of life to the dinner party last night.

I brought my two new friends home, we talked through our differences, and I combined them into something really special and really delicious.

Crunchy romaine hearts, colorful bell peppers, fresh tomatoes, sweet corn kernels, and spicy baked tortilla strips, all tossed with an herb-kissed Caesar dressing and topped with juicy strips of perfectly grilled sirloin. Also known as: Texas Caesar Salad.

So good. This was the perfect light meal for a hot summer night. Eric, being the meat and potatoes kind of man he is, isn’t really big on the idea of a salad as dinner. Not manly enough. Or something.

That’s why I added steak. Ha. That certainly gets his attention. We both enjoyed this on such a hot July night. The dressing had a great punch of flavor and brightness from the cilantro. Since there are so many strong flavors going on, I didn’t find the cilantro overpowering at all, which was a very pleasant surprise!

Add an ice cold beer (or your favorite wine), some nice crusty bread and you’ve got a delicious dinner. Invite some new friends. May I suggest cilantro and anchovies? 😉

TEXAS CAESAR SALAD WITH GRILLED SIRLOIN (Recipe adapted from: Bon Appetit, July 1999 via Epicurious.com)

INGREDIENTS:

For the dressing:

  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 jalapeño chili, seeded, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

For the salad:

  • 8 cups bite-size pieces romaine lettuce (from 2 heads)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced (I subbed an orange bell pepper)
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 ears fresh sweet corn, grilled until tender and slightly charred, then cut from the cob
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • Baked chili-lime tortilla strips (Recipe follows)
  • 1 lb. sirloin strip steak, grilled until desired doneness and sliced into thin strips
  • Additional freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Purée first 9 ingredients in processor until smooth. Gradually add olive oil and process until blended. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
  2. Combine romaine, bell pepper, scallions, corn, tomatoes and half the tortilla strips in a large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Divide among 4 serving dishes, top with steak, and garnish with additional Parmesan cheese and the rest of tortilla strips.

BAKED CHILI-LIME TORTILLA STRIPS (Recipe source: Me!)

  • 2 medium flour tortillas
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Zest of one small lime
  • Kosher salt and pepper taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Using a pizza cutter, cut the tortillas into long, thin strips. Toss with olive oil and other ingredients. Spread in an even layer on a foil-covered baking sheet.

Bake until golden brown and crunchy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Cool before using.

ENJOY! 🙂

Two Years Ago: Candy Kiss Cupcake Bites

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6 Comments

Filed under beef, salads, veggies

6 responses to “Make new friends, but keep the old…

  1. This not only sounds wonderful but looks incrediable! Can NOT wait to try it.
    I’m bookmarking this recipe! Thanks!

  2. brannyboilsover

    What a neat spin on the traditional salad!

  3. Katherine

    I’m so glad to see you included anchovy fillets – so many people omit this ingredient due to an “ew” factor, and they miss out on the authentic Caesar taste.

    Anchovies also belong in alfredo sauces – but no one seems to even know that. An old Sicilian cook taught me that. Ever heard of it? I think it’d be a great addition to your blog recipes, you should try it out.

    • themilkmanswife

      Thanks for tip, Katherine! I haven’t heard of anchovy in alfredo sauce but it sounds like a great combo. 🙂

  4. brannyboilsover

    Hey Erin! I posted a challenge for you on my blog: http://brannyboilsover.com/2010/07/20/getting-to-know-you/

    Hope you participate!

  5. Pingback: Simple Things | Milk & Honey

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