Kitchen Sink Chicken Caesar Salad
I love Caesar salad, but there are times when I want something more substantial than the classic recipe—Romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, croutons and Parmesan cheese. One of those occasions was the day I came home ravenous after teaching two aerobic classes. I opened my refrigerator, scanned my vegetable drawer and then proceeded to put everything but the kitchen sink into the salad. My Caesar dressing doubles as a marinade for the chicken. If you don't want to take the time to make my dressing from scratch, substitute one of your favorite bottled dressings.
Menu Game Plan
Prep & Cooking Time: 45 minutes
- Preheat the grill.
- Make the Creamy Caesar Dressing.
- Marinate the chicken.
- Prepare the salads.
- Grill the chicken.
Who was Caesar? Caesar Cardini invented Caesar salad in 1924 at his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico. He wanted diners to eat his salad with their fingers so he left the Romaine leaves whole, sprinkled them with croutons and Parmesan, then drizzled them with a dressing made of olive oil, garlic and Worcestershire sauce. Later, some creative chef added anchovy slices. Still later, Caesar dressings laced with anchovy paste and mayonnaise became popular.
Chicken Caesar Salad
1-1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Creamy Caesar Dressing
6 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
1 cup thinly sliced cucumber (preferably hothouse)
1 cup thinly sliced bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced fennel or celery
1 cup thinly sliced radish
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
1 cup thinly sliced or shredded carrot
2 medium navel oranges
2 cups garlic croutons
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese
1. Preheat the grill. If you have a grill with a variable temperature control, set it to medium-high (one or two steps below high) or to about 350 degrees to 400 degrees F.
2. Flatten and marinate the chicken. Spread a large piece of plastic wrap on a flat work surface. Arrange the chicken breasts in a single layer over the plastic wrap. Cover the breasts with another large piece of plastic wrap. Pound the breasts with the bottom of a large heavy skillet, the flat side of a meat mallet, or a rolling pin until flattened to about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick.
Place the chicken in a 1-gallon zippered freezer-weight storage bag, a 1-quart airtight container or a shallow square glass dish (8 x 8 x 2-inch).
With your fingertips, smear 1/2 cup of the dressing onto all sides of the flattened meat. Zip the bag closed, or cover the container or dish and marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or up to 24 hours.
3. Prepare the salads. Put equal amounts of the Romaine lettuce on 4 dinner plates.
Peel the oranges and cut them in half; then cut each half across the meridian into 1/4-inch thick half moons.
Artistically arrange equal amounts of all the vegetables on top of the lettuce, leaving the center free for the chicken. If not serving immediately, cover each plate tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.
4. Grill the chicken. Remove each piece of chicken from the marinade and place it on the grill. Grill the chicken according to Grill Times, until the interior temperature reaches 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. The meat should no longer be pink in the center; and all the juices should run clear when pricked with the tip of a knife.
5. To serve, allow the chicken to rest for 2 to 3 minutes after coming off of the grill (this allows the juices to settle) and then cut each piece across the grain into 1/4- to 1/2-inch wide strips. Lay equal amounts of chicken in the center of the lettuce and sprinkle with garlic croutons and onions. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the dressing and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve immediately with hot garlic bread.
Instead of fresh oranges, substitute tangelos when in season or canned Mandarin oranges. Make sure the canned Mandarin oranges are well drained before putting on the salad.
Two-Sided Contact Grill: 4 to 6 minutes
Hibachi Grill, Combination Grill or Infusion Grill: 8 to 12 minutes. Turn the chicken halfway through the grilling time. Grills with lids may be covered halfway through the grilling time. Infusion grills with lids may be covered for the entire grilling time.
Creamy Caesar Dressing
Makes 6 (3 tablespoon) servings
3/4 cup low-fat or nonfat mayonnaise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup seasoned red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon pressed garlic
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
1 to 2 teaspoons anchovy paste (from a tube)
1/4 teaspoon light salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
This dressing will keep up to 2 weeks if refrigerated in an air-tight container.
1. In a blender; mix the mayonnaise, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, anchovy paste, salt and pepper to taste.
2. Reserve 1/2 cup to marinate the chicken.
Creamy Balsamic Caesar Dressing: Instead of red wine vinegar, lemon juice and Worcestershire, substitute 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar.
Approximate Nutrients Per Serving of Entire Meal
Total Calories 440, Protein 40 g/36%, Carbohydrate 32 g/29%,
Total Sugar 13 g, Fat Total 17 g/35%, Saturated Fat 3 g/7%,
Cholesterol 88 mg, Sodium 872 mg, Fiber 6 g, Calcium 186 mg.
Everything You Need to Know
to Make Delicious, Healthy Meals
on Your Indoor Electric Grill
By Holly Rudin-Braschi
QVC Publishing, Inc, September 2000
Paperback, $19.95, 288 pages
Recipes reprinted by permission.
This page created March 2001