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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chicken Caesar Salad

I don't mean to be a snob, but I hate bottled salad dressings.  It always blows my mind when people use them; to me they all taste almost exactly the same, and not good.  On top of that, it's so easy to just whip up your own that I don't even think they're particularly more convenient!  I think my boyfriend's mother must think I don't eat salad or veggies but really I just don't want a plain salad with some Kraft dressing on top, it just doesn't interest me.  



Now I know Caesar is one of the worst "salads" you could have, but it is so delicious, and when you make your own dressing and skip the ultra-super-creamy bottled kind, it's definitely a lot better for you.  I think a lot of people are turned off by the whole anchovy thing, but they're really just very salty - I promise you don't have to use many and you really won't taste much of it at all due to the other strong flavors going in. 

a few things you'll need for your dressing: dijon, pepper, salt, Worcestershire sauce, anchovies, and a little Diet Coke + cheap red wine mix for yourself (see, I'm not really a snob!)

mashing up anchovies with garlic and dijon

adding in the egg

emulsify!

mmm

croutons and chicken, ready to go


ta-da!


 Chicken Caesar Salad
recipe courtesy of my mother, measurements are approximate because that's how she rolls




Ingredients:
  • 1 head of Romaine lettuce
  • 2 oz of thinly sliced/shreeded Pecorino Romano
  • Good bread cut into large 1" cubes
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • more olive oil
Dressing: 
  • 6 anchovy filets
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • salt
  • pepper
Directions:
  1. Make your chicken: Heat a medium saute pan on medium high heat with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Slice chicken breast in half crosswise and then again to make for quicker cooking.
  3. Salt and pepper breast on both sides.
  4. Saute until lightly golden on each side and just about cooked through.  Set aside.
  5. Make your croutons: In the same pan, add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and bread cubes.  We used Ciabatta bread but any good bread will do.
  6. Add pinches of salt and pepper and saute, stirring until golden brown.  Set aside.
  7. Make your dressing: In a large salad bowl, place anchovies and garlic close with Dijon mustard and mash with a fork until a paste forms.
  8. Add whole egg and whisk in.
  9. Whisk in lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce and grated cheese.
  10. Add a bit of salt and a lot of black pepper.
  11. Drizzle in olive oil slowly while continuously whisking to ensure emulsification; keep going until a creamy consistency forms.
  12. Put it all together: Tear Romaine leaves into bite sized pieces and add to bowl with dressing in it.
  13. Slice chicken and add.
  14. Slice thin shreds of Pecorino Romano using a potato peeler and add.  
  15. Add crountons.
  16. Toss to evenly distribute dressing.  Test it and add salt, pepper, or lemon juice to taste.

See?  That wasn't so hard and I promise you it is leaps and bounds above whatever dressing you'd find in the refrigerated (or worse, non refrigerated) section of your grocery store.



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