Caesar Salad With English Muffin Croutons and Blanched Asparagus

So… there I was… in the produce section, and this happened:

Husband: “Hey, can we have a salad with dinner tonight?”

After I regained consciousness, I quickly agreed and, since I had some lovely organic Romaine in the fridge at home, we settled on a Caesar salad to go with lasagna.

Full disclosure: I did not make the Caesar dressing, it was sitting, right there on the

shelf, made by the nice folk at Panera, so I took that as confirmation from the powers that be that Caesar was the way to go.

But, just because I didn’t make the dressing did not mean that I couldn’t make this Caesar my very own.

Along with that organic Romaine, I also had a bundle of asparagus in the crisper, a red onion in the onion bowl, and some a wee, tiny bit past their “best by” date Bay’s English Muffins in the fridge, so…

Home made croutons and crispity blanched asparagus was the way I was gonna roll.

•3 or four English muffins
•1/4 cup garlic infused olive oil

Blanched Asparagus:
•1 bunch asparagus
•Salted boiling water
•Ice water

•Romaine, chopped
•Red onion, thinly sliced
•Blanched asparagus
•English muffin croutons
•Shaved Parmesan
•Caesar dressing

Heat your oven to 325º and cube your English muffins.

Pour the garlic infused oil over the cubed muffins in a bowl and stir to coat evenly.

Arrange the oiled cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and pop into your hot oven for 30 minutes or so, until the cubes are crispity and golden brown; stirring the cubes every ten minutes.

Set aside to cool, then store in a zipper bag until needed.

Wash the asparagus and cut off the bottom inch or two of the stalks.

Place the trimmed stalks in a shallow bowl and cover with water while you are preparing for blanching. This step will help “refresh” that stalks after they’ve been sitting in a bag in the fridge for a day or two.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil with one tablespoon of salt.

When well and truly boiling, remove the asparagus from the water and drop into the boiling water.

Blanch for two to three minutes, depending on how thick your stalks are.

Use that two to three minutes to pour the old water out of your shallow bowl, then wipe it out and refill it with cold water and ice cubes.

Once the asparagus in the pot is bright green, remove from the boiling water and immediately plunge into the ice water.

This will stop them from cooking anymore and lock in that lovely, bright green color.

Remove the asparagus to a towel lined platter to dry completely, then stash in the fridge until needed.

When ready to serve your salad, cut the cooled asparagus into one or two inch pieces and toss in a large bowl with the Romaine, red onion, English muffin croutons, and shaved Parm. Toss with the dressing, or serve it one the side with black pepper.

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