My Kinda Salad
- 1 (8-inch) piece French bread, crust trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
- 1 teaspoon Baby Bam, recipe follows
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Emeril's Italian Essence or other dry Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 head romaine lettuce, washed and dried, torn into bite-size pieces (about 10 cups)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
To make the croutons, put the bread cubes in a medium mixing bowl and season with the Baby Bam. Combine 1/3 cup of the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of the garlic in a blender and process on high speed for 30 seconds. Add the olive oil mixture to the bread cubes and toss with a spatula to coat evenly. Spread the bread cubes evenly on the lined baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Using oven mitts or pot holders, remove the baking sheet from the oven and set aside to cool.
To make the dressing, combine the white wine vinegar, mustard, balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, sugar, Italian Essence, salt, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of garlic in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to blend. Gradually add the remaining 2/3 cup of olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until well blended and smooth.
To assemble the salad, put the lettuce in a large salad bowl and add the dressing and the Parmesan cheese. Toss to coat evenly. Divide the salad mixture evenly among 4 salad plates (or more if making smaller servings) and top with equal amounts of the croutons.
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, originally appearing in Emeril's There's a Chef in My Soup, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2002
3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir well to combine, using a wooden spoon.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Yield: about 3/4 cup