Red Chile Caesar Salad with Crispy Calamari, Cornbread Croutons and Cotija Cheese

This is a riff on Caesar Salad – basically making the dressing spicy by adding chipotles, and then adding the fried calamari and garnishing with Cotija cheese, which is a delicious Mexican cheese that is firm and crumbly, like feta. You could probably sub in feta if you can’t find Cotija in your grocery store. This recipe comes from the book “ModMex” by Scott Linquist, the chef and creator of the restaurant Dos Caminos in NYC. The picture is below the text.
2 cups cubed cornbread
2 tbs EVOO
1tsp chili powder
2 to 4 anchovy fillets
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1 arbol chile or 1 tsp chile de arbol powder
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Maggi sauce (found in the Asian or Mexican aisle at your grocery store)
1/4 tsp hot sauce, like Tabasco
1 cup canola oil
4 ounces Cotija cheese, grated
4 ounces Cotija cheese, crumbled, for garnish
12 ounces cleaned squid bodies and tentacles, cut into thin rings and tentacles quartered, if desired (that’s just how I prefer to eat them)
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups canola oil, for frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Pinch of ancho chile powder
3 to 4 Romaine hearts, cut into bite-size pieces
Take the cornbread cubes and toss in a bowl with the EVOO and chili powder. Preheat oven to 350 F. Transfer cornbread cubes to a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, turning once. Remove and cool
To make the dressing, combine all ingredients except canola oil and cheese in your blender. Blend until smooth, then stream in the oil with the blender running. When ready to serve, stir in salt and pepper to taste along with the grated Cotija cheese.
To make the calamari, combine the squid and buttermilk. Heat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven. In another bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt and chile powder. Strain the calamari from the buttermilk and dredge in the flour mixture. Shake off the excess, then fry in the hot oil for about two minutes per ring, until a nice golden brown. Don’t overcook them or they’ll taste really rubbery and bad. Put them on a paper towel lined plate to drain. Cook in batches if need be. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, dressing, croutons, and fried squid. Serve and enjoy. The recipe serves 4 this way, and the book says that the dressing will refrigerate safely for up to one week.


About jwall915

I love to cook and I love to travel! This blog explores my love of both. I share recipes and restaurant reviews, and I blog the trips I take.
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