Sunday, July 24, 2011

Grilled Chicken Caeser Salad

During the summer I find it challenging to come up with menu ideas for hot days (or warm days in Seattle). Husbands don't seem to get excited about salads the way us wives do, but classic Caesar Salad seems to be a crowd pleaser for everyone and every occasion. This is my go-to side salad with any Italian dish all year around.

My sister Mandie found this gluten-free recipe a few years ago in an Every Day Food cookbook. This makes for a great dip for veggies and pizza as well.

1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup parmesan
2 anchovy fillets (optional, in fact I've never used them)
1 small garlic clove
1-2 tsp sugar
1/8-1/4 tsp. pepper to taste 
1/2-1 tsp garlic seasoning (like Johnny's from Costco)

Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth.  Refrigerate.


I made up a marinade that went a little something like this:

1 Chicken breast
1-2 tsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp white cooking wine
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Salt and Pepper
1 garlic clove, minced

Store in ziploc in fridge for a couple hours.  My sister, Molly taught me about filleting chicken breasts to make the meat go farther and cook faster, so now I always cut the chicken breast in half. Place chicken on hot grill, rotate after a few minutes to get crossed searing lines. Turn, cook for a few more minutes until no longer pink in center or until thermometer reads 160-165 degrees. 

Romaine - diced or torn 
Greens - you want mostly Romaine which holds up better to creamy dressings, but greens add a touch of elegance.

Mandie is convinced torn lettuce tastes better than cut. I worked at a cafe in Normandy Park and learned that cutting lettuce was so much faster than tearing. I dice it first right off the core, then give it a rinse and put it in the salad spinner. It's important to get the excess water off, otherwise salad will become soupy.

Olive oil or Pan Spray
Garlic Seasoning
Bread heels, cut into bit sized squares (I keep a Ziploc bag full of heels from every loaf of bread we eat and save them for making croutons, the more variety, the better)

Spread cubes over baking sheet, drizzle with oil or for lower cal, spray with any kind of pan spray. Sprinkle with seasoning.  Toast in oven on a low Broiler for 5-10 minutes, not too soft and not too crisp. Remove from oven; cool for a few minutes.

To assemble:
Toss romaine and greens in dressing. (Start with a little, you can always add more.)
Slice chicken into strips, keeping shape intact. Place on top of dressed salad.
Top with croutons.
Sprinkle with Parmesan, Asiago or Romano cheese. I always buy the big bag of Parmesan at Costco, but for a real gourmet touch, use a potato peeler to get generous shavings from a block of Italian cheese.
And always...fresh ground pepper.


~ Julie

No comments:

Post a Comment