Caesar-Marinated Grilled Chicken Salad

The ubiquitous Chicken Caesar Salad…I love it because it’s a delicious and light meal.  I hate it because it is on nearly every menu I’ve seen.  I refuse to pay for one at a restaurant because they are just too overpriced.  This dish is not difficult, nor is it expensive to make.

My take on it was to marinade the chicken in classic Caesar flavors – lemon, garlic, Dijon, anchovy – then grill it.  The croutons, rather than being hard little bites impossible to stab with a fork, would be big pieces used to help scoop the salad.  For simplicity sake, I used a bottled Caesar to dress the greens.

When preparing your salad greens, fill a large bowl with fresh, cool water.  You can use a sharp knife to cut thin strips of sturdy lettuces like Romaine without bruising (oxidizing causes the darkening of some fruits and vegetables) them, if you put them right into water.  Soak the cut lettuce, swishing them lightly a few times, to remove any trapped dirt.  Remove the lettuce from the top of the bowl gently, not disturbing any dirt that will fall to the bottom of the bowl, and strain.  I use a salad spinner and lift the lettuce out with the colander that goes inside, then spin it as dry as I can.

This salad is perfect for making ahead for summer parties, showers, or work lunches.  Just dress the greens right before serving.  Everyone loves a good Chicken Caesar Salad!

Caesar-Marinated Grilled Chicken Salad

Chicken

4 – 4 ounce chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

3 anchovy fillets, minced

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/3 cup olive oil

Combine marinade ingredients in a shallow dish.  Add chicken breasts and turn to coat.  Let chicken sit in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours.

When done marinating, remove the chicken and pat them dry.  Grill on a grill pan, panini grill, or outside until the chicken reaches 160 degrees in the thickest part.  Set aside for 5 minutes before cutting.

Croutons

4 slices sourdough bread, cut into large triangle-shaped pieces

olive oil

cayenne pepper, to taste

black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  On a baking sheet, lightly drizzle the bread slices with olive oil, dust with a little cayenne and black pepper, and top with Parmesan.  Bake until the bottoms are golden brown and the Parmesan is melted and crispy.

Salad

2 heads Romaine lettuce, small hearts, cut and washed

1 head red baby Romaine lettuce, cut and washed

2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half

1/3 cup prepared Caesar dressing, whichever you prefer

Parmesan cheese, grated or shaved, for garnish

Toss the Romaine, tomatoes, and dressing in a large bowl to coat all pieces of vegetables.

To serve: Divide the dressed salad on the plates, top with Parmesan and sliced chicken breast.  Serve with croutons on the side.