Super Southwest Salad with Cornbread Croutons and Chipotle Ranch Dressing

Well ladies and gentlemen, it has been a long time since I last posted. Our neighbor Rob sold us a delicious ‘variety pack’ of grass feed beef from his farm in Grandview, WA a couple of days ago, and the first order of business was burgers. More on that later, but I will tell you I had to make cornbread to complete these burgers. As usual, I made way too much and had to find something to do with a 12 x 12 x 2″ chunk of cornbread.

A while back, I ate at a restaurant that served cornbread croutons on a club salad. They were delicious, but I never thought to make them on my own. Flash forward to a few nights ago, and I have eighty percent of my cornbread leftover and I’m craving a big salad.

I’ve made this salad in the past, and gave it the moniker of ‘Southwest Salad,’ but with the addition of these croutons I have upgraded its title to ‘Super Southwest Salad.’

Without further ado:

Super Southwest Salad
Manifest

The Salad
lettuce (your favorite type, I like to keep it simple with Romaine)
corn (I used can as fresh is not currently available)
cheddar cheese, shredded
fresh salsa (we had garlic-lime)
toasted tortillas, crumbled

The Meat
marinaded Tri-tip or flank steak, grilled to medium temp (I use my favorite marinade)

The Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp cumin
a generous 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, large stems removed
1/2 to 1 Chipotle pepper (from a can, in adobo) one was a little on the spicy side for those sensitive to heat
juice of one lime
pinch of sea salt

The Croutons
yesterday’s cornbread (if you make this from a box, don’t tell me. I won’t be able to forgive you)
olive oil
Italian seasoning
sea salt
coarse black pepper

Assembly

Combine all ingredients for dressing in a blender or food processor, pulse until smooth and creamy. My ratio of mayo to buttermilk will yield a medium consistency (not too thick, not too thin). Set aside.

Grill meat to desired temperature, set aside and allow to sit before you slice it thin across the grain, so that it retains its moisture.

Cut the cornbread into cubes of your desired size. I recommend 1″ cubes, as you will lose a little to crumble-age. Combine cubed cornbread and other ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Toss to coat cornbread. Spread croutons evenly on baking sheet (or on a rack on a baking skeet) and put them in the oven at 400 degrees until they are crispy and beginning to brown. Remove, set aside.

Begin salad assembly, I like to lay down my lettuce, then crumbled tortilla pieces, corn, salsa, cheddar cheese, and finally the meat. At this point I would add dressing, then croutons!

If you haven’t already given up, because really, a salad shouldn’t be this involved, you may now consume.

Super Southwest Salad

Delicious!