Sunday, August 19, 2012

Chicken Caesar Salad

Have you been to Ruby Tuesday? If you have, it is most likely that you have eaten their salad bar (since it comes with just about every meal these days). Do you like their croutons? I do! They are the only place where I've eaten pumpernickel croutons. But besides the unique flavor, I think what makes them superior croutons is that they are crunchy on the outside, but soft on the inside. Way different than the "modern" croutons you by at a grocery store or get on salads from other restaurants (not that's I'm knocking those, those are good too).

The croutons that follow in this recipe are exactly that--- crunchy on the outside but chewy in the middle. Perfect as a compliment to the crunchy romaine lettuce and completely capable of soaking up the delicious Caesar dressing. I used a whole wheat baguette for mine, but feel free to use any type of bread. I think next time I'll try pumpernickel in order to recreate the goodness at Ruby Tuesday. :)

This dressing is just perfect. It really tastes exactly like what you would get if you ordered a Caesar salad at a restaurant. I guess I shouldn't be surprised since Cooking Illustrated is the best place to turn to for authentic recipes. If you have no desire to learn that anchovies, egg yolks and tons of garlic and parmesan cheese are what makes Caesar salads so delicious, do not read on...

...oops, I already ruined it for you, you might as well make the recipe.

Chicken Caesar Salad (adapted from Cook's Illustrated February 2011)
For croutons:
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
1/2 loaf whole wheat baguette
1/8 cup water
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

For dressing:
1 garlic clove
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 anchovy fillets, patted dry with paper towels and mashed with a fork
1 large egg yolk
3 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
freshly ground pepper, to taste

For assembly:
4-5 cups of romaine lettuce
1 large chicken breast, grilled, cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

For croutons: Grate the garlic clove into a small bowl and combine it with 1/2 tbsp oil. Place the bread cubes in a bowl and sprinkle with water and salt. Toss, squeezing gently with your hands so the bread absorbs the water. Heat 1 1/2 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the bread cubes and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and crispy about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the garlic/oil mixture and cheese. Mix until evenly distributed.

For the dressing: Grate the garlic clove into a large bowl and add the juice from the lemon. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Whisk the Worcestershire sauce, anchovies and egg yolk into the garlic/lemon mixture. While whisking constantly, drizzle in the oils in a slow and steady stream. Whisk until it is fully emulsified. Add the parmesan and pepper, to taste, and whisk to incorporate.

When ready to serve, add the romaine to the dressing and toss to coat. Add the croutons, chicken pieces and mix gently to distribute. Serve immediately, topping with additional parmesan cheese.

**Note: This recipe serves 2 as a main course. The dressing/croutons would serve 4-6 as a side salad. If you are not planning on eating everything in one sitting, only mix the dressing with the lettuce and croutons you are going to use, otherwise it will get soggy.

**Precaution: Eat raw eggs with caution. You may substitute 1/8 cup egg beaters for the egg yolk if you are worried. As there is a raw egg yolk in the recipe, I would not suggest keeping the dressing for longer than 2-3 days (in the fridge, of course).

No comments:

Post a Comment