Warm Brussels Caesar with Bacon Ciabatta Croutons.
I’m about thirty seconds away from head butting the screen.
This salad is THAT good.
And there is a great reason that I’m telling you about salad today. Salad? Can we call it that? It’s like bacon grease, bacon, bread, dressing and some cheese shavings. But it’s a salad. How fair is that?
Anyhoo, the reason is BACON CROUTONS. Yes. The croutons of the bacon variety.
But wait. How was your weekend?
My weekend was almost as good as bacon croutons. I watched about seven straight hours of sons of anarchy late into the night. I watched almost as many youtube videos on show interviews because I can’t keep real and faux life separate. I spent a large chunk of time with Eddie at a horse racing track supporting his passion and not-so-secretly stalking a bunch of people on instagram that I want to be my friends. We ate one meal and one meal only on Saturday that consisted of the most massive burger ever and a freaking burnt almond torte milkshake.
Yeah. I said burnt almond torte. Am I dead yet?
After that, we participated in marriage therapy otherwise known as grocery shopping.
See, there are certain activities that Eddie and I know better than to do with each other and one of these things is grocery shopping. Another one is attempting to run together but that is neither here nor there. We had a lapse of judgment on Saturday and found ourselves at the store – together – which prepped me for life with a small child and gave him good free throw training as he shot peppers, bok choy, whole chickens and bottles of bbq sauce into the cart from ten feet away right before he proceeded to buy $24 of seedless grapes. He also plays this duck hunt game on his phone and I’m like almost certain that he surpassed at least six levels while simultaneously running the cart into other shoppers on his own personal speedway.
Then. He dropped a giant jar of pickles on the ground and pickle juice went all over his pants and shoes while pickles piled up to his ankles. He hates pickles. He hates the smell of pickles.
I love pickles. So much that I could sip the juice. I think I did so as a kid. I know you either get it or think I’m nuts. It’s a thing though.
But. This was one of those instances where I could not stop laughing. Totally dying of hysterics to the point of embarrassment. Pickles for everyone!
We planned on coming home from the store, maybe taking a nap and then eating these Brussels salads for dinner since we had a huge lunch. We did come home, we did take naps, we did not eat Brussels salad and instead finished milkshakes. That’s a weekend meal right there for you.
But these salads. These freaking salads. I was inspired by this smoky kale caesar salad which was blowing my mind a few weeks ago. Last week I had an overabundance of Brussels – can I just say that even though I’m slightly giddy for spring, I’m really sad for this sprout season to be over because I just can’t get enough? – and was craving something… different. The thing is that I’ve done a bunch of crazy crap with the little green things this year and while I wanted something with variety, I didn’t want it to be crazy. Like I wasn’t feel a Brussels quesadilla at that very moment.
So I fried some bacon. Took the grease and drenched ciabatta cubes with it, then toasted them until golden. Sauteed the Brussels until slightly soft and warm and then folded in a bit of this yogurt parm Caesar dressing. The salad soaks up a bit of dressing but the flavor is on. Tossed with the bacon, the croutons, some extra shaved parm… UGH. It’s so me new favorite meal. I ate it three times last week.
I’m probably going to eat it again today? You will hear about this salad approximately 34 more times before I’m over it.
- 2 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
- 1 cup ciabatta bread cubes
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 pound brussels sprouts, sliced and stems removed
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 pinch of pepper
- freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 4 anchovies, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until crispy and the fat is rendered, then remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel. Pour the bacon grease from the skillet over the bread cubes on the baking sheet and toss well. Sprinkle with the garlic powder and toss once more. Add the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the cubes are golden, tossing once or twice while cooking.
Return the skillet to the burner and heat over medium-low heat. Add the brussels with the salt and pepper and stir well. If you need a drop of olive oil feel free to add it, but I just used a little residual bacon grease in the skillet. Cook the brussels until warm and slightly soft, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Remove them from the skillet and toss with a few spoonfuls of the caesar dressing. Add the bacon and croutons on top and serve!
To make the dressing, add the garlic, yogurt, parmesan, mustard, vinegar, anchovies, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a food processor and blend until pureed. With the processor still on, stream in the olive oil until a creamy dressing forms. This will make more dressing than needed, but you can store it sealed in the fridge for about 5 days and stir well before using.
and it’s CRUNCHY too. My life.