Easy summer dinner: Grilled Caesar salad with chicken breast

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I have blogged here before that I did not like chicken breast.  I used to find the meat bland and dry.  Last year, I found a few recipes that work really well for chicken breast, and I have been converted ever since.

This particular chicken breast recipe was found on The Kitchn.  The recipe guarantees moist and tender boneless skinless chicken breasts.  Once the breast meat is cooked with this recipe, the possibilities are endless.  I’ve served the meat with salads, cubed it to throw in curries, added to stir fries, etc.  One of my favorite salads is a grilled Caesar salad, so I’m also going to share a recipe here for it.  I love the romaine lettuce grilled because it gives it an extra layer of flavor.  Of course, if you don’t grill the lettuce, that’s fine too (I’m looking at you, Itti!).  You can use the dressing on the uncooked lettuce.

The chicken breast and the Caesar salad can all be made ahead of time, and pulled out of the fridge to eat the next day.  It makes for a great summer dinner.

Chicken Breast

Ingredients

1 to 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon freshly chopped herbs (optional)
Olive oil
1/2 tablespoon butter

Equipment

10-inch sauté pan with lid

Direction

1. Pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness with the handle or flat of a knife.

2. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken breasts.

3. Mix about a half teaspoon of salt in with the flour along with a little pepper. Chop the herbs finely, if using, and mix in as well.

4. Quickly dredge the chicken breasts in the flour, so that they are just lightly dusted with flour.

5. Heat the sauté pan over medium-high heat. When it is quite hot, add the olive oil and butter. Let them melt, and swirl the pan.

6. Turn the heat to medium. Add the chicken breasts. Cook for just about 1 minute to help them get a little golden on one side (you are not actually searing or browning them). Then flip each chicken breast over.

7. Turn the heat to low. Put the lid on the pan. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and walk away. Do not lift the lid; do not peek.

8. After 10 minutes have elapsed, turn off the heat. Reset the timer for 10 minutes and leave the chicken breasts in the pan. Again, do not lift the lid; do not peek.

9. After the 10 minutes are up, take the lid off, and tada! Soft, tender, juicy chicken breasts that aren’t dried out in the least. Doublecheck them to make sure there is no pink in the middle. Slice and eat.

 

Grilled Caesar Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 canned rolled anchovy fillets with capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 to 3 large head romaine lettuce, cut lengthwise into halves

Direction

Mince 3 garlic cloves in processor. Add mayonnaise, anchovies with capers, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and mustard and process to blend. Transfer to medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Brush the dressing on the romaine lettuce halves.  Grill the lettuce on medium-high heat on the BBQ for 2 minutes, turning occasionally. Cut the grilled lettuce into bite size pieces.  Drizzle more dressing on the lettuce.  Sprinkle 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese on the salad.  Serve with chicken breast (see recipe above).

How to have fun with a caesar salad

When I was little, I would take little broccoli trees and plant them on my rice, and I would pretend to be a giant plucking trees from the ground and eating them.  It feels so empowering to a 5-year-old.  Look, Ma, I’m eating trees!  Except Ma did not find it very funny, because food is to be eaten, not played with.

Well, I think food can be played with.

Bob Blumer is one of my favorite chefs.  I love his creativity and his recipes.  Cooking always seems so fun when he does it.  And he is always playing with his food!

In particular, I love this caesar salad recipe from him, because I just find it incredibly fun to eat a salad that looks like it’s growing out of my plate.

Look, Ma, I’m eating a salad!

The recipe is here on Foodnetwork.  It’s easy enough that I was willing to try it out.  The salad dressing is really good, and making the crouton collar was a lot of fun.

One thing to note is that his recipe doesn’t talk about what to do with the white part of the bread you pluck out from the crust.  I cut the pieces into cubes, drizzled the cubes with olive oil, and baked the cubes along with the collar.  These cubes then become extra croutons you can put on the salad.

On my picture is also a piece of grilled wild salmon.  Costco has fillets of wild salmon for a really great price.  We season it with salt and pepper, grill it, and eat it with fresh lemon juice drizzled on it.