Thursday, May 2, 2013

Andouille Sausage Salad with Cajun Caesar Dressing

Pasture raised, heritage pork is some of the most delicious pork you will ever have the pleasure of eating. While perusing the meat selections at my local co-op grocery store I saw some pasture raised, smoked andouille sausage, how can you pass that up? They always have different meats every time I go because the farmers and the seasons dictate what they are growing and butchering. I just love this way of shopping, I think it's exciting to go in and check out all the different things the local butchers, farmers and "meat artisans" are offering. Andouille sausage is usually found in southern, Cajun cooking but it's starting to find it's way into cuisines all over the United States as it gains notoriety. I first had this spicy, French inspired sausage in a seafood and sausage gumbo in South Carolina and I was hooked! Andouille is very similar to kielbasa in texture, being very coarse ground and firm but the flavor is much spicier. If you haven't tried it yet, you should find that it lends well to any sausage recipe that you have.

The Caesar salad dressing is my own recipe that I wanted to tweak so that it would accompany the sausage better. I really love Caesars and I wanted to have a dressing that kept those same flavors but also was a little unique and would pair nicely with the bold French flavors of the andouille. So instead of the traditional Dijon mustard I used a very spicy stout mustard made with Sierra Nevada stout beer, who doesn't love sausage, spicy mustard and beer? I also fooled with the seasonings of the dressing a bit. One of my favorite southern spice blends is the blackening seasoning that is used traditionally on meats and then they are cooked on high heat till charred or "blackened." It's a very popular method and it gives such a wonderful smoky, spicy and unique flavor to foods, every time I taste it I am transported back to my South Carolina days, don't you just love how flavors can bring back memories. So I added a dash of the blackening seasoning to the mix and it gave the dressing a reddish tint which was so beautiful and unique. The last thing I changed in the Caesar recipe was the cheese component. Traditionally Caesars are made with parmesan cheese; I decided in this Cajun version I was going with a rosemary manchego instead. The rosemary is such a wonderful herb with pork and the dry and salty sheep's milk cheese holds up so well with the other aggressive flavors in the dressing, it was perfect!

This recipe makes 2 large salads.



2 Pasture raised links of andouille style sausage, kielbasa will work also.
1 Head organic romaine lettuce, chopped.
2 Cups organic baby lettuce blend, I used Olivia's Organics.
1/2 Cup organic grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 Cup homemade seasoned bread crumbs, click on the link for my recipe.
1/4 Cup rosemary manchego, shredded.


3 Cloves organic garlic, peeled and roughly chopped.
1 Small, organic shallot, chopped.
1/2 Tbsp spicy mustard, I used Sierra Nevada stout mustard.
1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Vegenaise, you can use regular mayonnaise here if you like, I just really like the taste of the vegan one.
1/4 Cup, very good quality extra virgin olive oil.
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste.
1 tsp blackening seasoning, I use Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Redfish Magic.
Juice from 1 lemon
2 Anchovy fillets, a lot of recipes say that this item can be optional and I disagree I think its essential for the flavor of the dressing but if you are totally against using this ingredient then just leave it off, I strongly urge you to give it a try though.
1/4 Cup rosemary manchego, shredded.


Heat a charcoal or gas grill to high heat and cook the sausage for about 7 or 8 minutes, or until it is browned and cook through. Remove from heat and set aside.

While the sausage is cooking assemble the salad by combining the lettuces, tomatoes, bread crumbs and cheese in a large bowl.

In a blender combine all dressing ingredients and blend till thick and creamy. Spoon desired amount of dressing over the salad and toss to combine and coat. I used about 4 Tbsp of dressing for the salad for 2 people. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper.

To serve slice the sausage on a diagonal and place on top of a bed of salad. Drizzle with extra dressing if desired and serve with some charred flatbread, enjoy!

Y'all come back now, ya hear! 

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