Friday, April 22, 2011

Steak Caesar Salad

I've always been a fan of Caesar salad.  Naturally, I'm also a fan of steak.  I think you can see where this is going.

Here's a simple salad recipe to enjoy when it finally starts warming up outside.  Or, if you're like me and thought it was finally going to warm up outside, only to discover a day of 40 degrees and rain...well, you can enjoy it then, too.  Some marinated steak and home-made croutons make for a fresh, tasty lunch or dinner.

Normally, I'm crouton-challenged.  I am absolutely helpless in the face of dense, store-bought croutons when I try to get them onto a fork with a bite of salad.  I inevitably end up littering the bottom of my plate with the pulverized crumbs of what used to be croutons.  The first time I had a home-made crouton as a kid, I was hooked.  Fresher, tastier, lighter, and - best of all - stabbable!

Let's get started on some home-made Caesar Croutons.

The ingredients are simple.  Bread, preferably stale.  French or Italian works fine.  Sourdough is also quite tasty.  Anything unsliced will do, as we want to slice it into nice thick chunks.  Since my Caesar croutons are basically garlic bread, the rest is simple: olive oil, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Start by slicing your bread into nice, thick slices.  An inch to an inch-and-a-half is ideal, assuming you have airy break like French or Italian.  A little smaller for something denser like sourdough.

Cut your bread down into crouton-sized chunks.  I like big ones, about 1"x1"x.5".  If you like them a little smaller, that's fine too.  Much bigger and they won't fit into a bite of salad all that well.

My favorite method for cutting the bread down is to just use kitchen shears once I've got the bread into slices.  Tearing is also a fine option.  Or a knife, if you want to be a square.

Once your bread is crouton-sized, toss in a large bowl with a bit of olive oil.  We're not going for full coverage, just a drizzle.

Spread your proto-croutons out on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.  Drizzle with a bit more oil if it's looking dry, and sprinkle all of the seasonings over the top: Plenty of garlic powder and parmesan, and just a dash of salt and pepper.

Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.  Pull out of the oven and give them a shake/turn.  Season the other side with a fresh dash of all the seasonings, then bake another 4-5 minutes.  That's it, they're done!

Now all we need is a salad...Turn the oven up to broil and we'll get started on that part while the croutons cool.  Resist the urge to eat them like popcorn.  Or, if you made more than you need, eat them as a pre-salad snack.

A good Caesar Salad doesn't need much.  Fresh romaine.  Parmesan.  Caesar dressing (Ken's lite is really quite good, and slightly less guilt-inducing).  Some fresh pepper for over the top.

Oh, and steak.  This is a great recipe to use up leftover steak from another meal.  I'm not really the type to let leftover steak stick around, so I used some fresh stuff.  Since you're not eating the steak as a steak, it's alright to use a cheaper cut - I went for Round this time.  A finer cut is better, of course, but I'm on a graduate-student budget.  Mine looks off-color in the photo because it spent a night in a marinade of Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt, pepper, a dash of vinegar, and some water.

Food photography doesn't get more exciting than a bowl full of lettuce.  When you're finish admiring the photo, wash and chop your romaine.  Arrange artfully in a large salad bowl.  The same one you tossed the croutons in works fine, but wash it out first!

Broil your steak about 5 minutes per side 3-4 inches from the broiler.  It shouldn't need any help if you marinated it.  If you didn't, give it a hand with some salt and fresh-ground pepper.

And that's it!  When your steak is done, let it rest a bit and slice it up.  Dress your lettuce and lay it on a plate.  Cover with a generous portion of sliced steak and a hand-full or two of croutons.  Over the lot goes plenty of Parmesan cheese and some pepper fresh from the mill.

It's simple, but it's awfully good.  If you're clever, you'll make more than you need for dinner and have components left-over for lunch the next day.


Recipe: Steak Caesar Salad

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes   |   Cook Time: 15-20 minutes   |   Difficulty: Easy   |   Servings: 3-4.


  • 1/2 loaf stale French or Italian bread.
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil.
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese.
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic Powder.
  • 1 teaspoon Salt.

  • 1 head Romaine Lettuce, washed.
  • 12 Ounces Steak - Top/Bottom Round.
  • 1/4 cup Caesar Dressing.
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.

Marinade (Optional):
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce.
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup water


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice bread approximately 1-1.5" thick, then cut down into crouton-sized bites (approx. 1"-1"-.5").  Toss with olive oil in a large bowl.  Spread onto baking sheet over parchment paper and sprinkle on all remaining ingredients.

Bake 5 minutes.  Remove from oven, flip, and add additional seasoning if necessary.  Return to oven and bake an additional 4-5 minutes.


Optional: Combine all marinade ingredients in a gallon-sized plastic bag.  Marinate steak a minimum of one hour.

Turn oven on to broil.  

Remove steaks from marinade (if used).  Broil steaks 3-4 inches from element approximately 5 minutes per side, or until desired temperature.  Rest several minutes and slice thin.

Chop romaine down and place in a large salad bowl.  Toss with Caesar dressing.  Arrange approximately 1/4 head of lettuce on a plate.  Add sliced steak and a generous portion of croutons.  Top with Parmesan cheese and fresh-ground pepper to taste.


  1. Looks great - I love homemade croutons and I do in fact steal a bunch of them and snarf them down before they ever make it to the salad bowl.

  2. I don't like croutons, but I could eat a whole bag of these!

  3. I never even considered that croutons could be homemade. Similiar to the feeling I had when I found out there were recipes for ketchup. I want this for lunch today Alex. I'm sure my coworker Susan would appreciate it as well.