Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken

For years when I asked elder daughter what she wanted for dinner, this was her most frequent request.   After she went off to university, her little sister continued the tradition.  We even have bowls, big lovely salad bowls - one is large enough when making for side salad for everyone - which replace plates when we are having Caesar salad as a main course.  We have four such bowls.  It makes me sad tonight to be filling only two.



Ingredients for dressing
2 tablespoons fresh or reconstituted lime or lemon juice (You can also use vinegar, in a pinch.)
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup cold water (Cold helps the dressing emulsify.)
1 small (45g) can of anchovies in olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt or to taste (Some anchovies are saltier than others so you can wait to add the salt until after the dressing is emulsified so you can taste it.)
¼ teaspoon powdered English mustard (Colemans)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled



Method
Puree all together in a blender or with a hand blender until emulsified.  This will keep for a couple of weeks stored in the refrigerator in a closed jar.




Ingredients for chicken
One chicken breast per person
Sea salt
Black pepper
Vinegar
Olive oil

Method
Sprinkle the chicken breasts with your vinegar.

This can be a flavored vinegar, red wine, white wine, balsamic, cider, etc.  Your favorite vinegar. I keep several in my cupboards, but my go-to bottle for most marinating is plain white vinegar. I poke a hole in the lid with a sharp knife and then sprinkling is very easy. You don’t need much and, without other flavors and spices, the flavor of the charred chicken comes through.  I also always buy the same brand, same size bottle so I can reused the lid on each new bottle instead of flailing about with a sharp knife re-poking holes each time I run out.

Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. 



Put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a Ziploc bag and pop the chicken in.  Zip it up and rub the oil all around. Leave bag of chicken in the refrigerator to marinate until you are ready to grill it.


When you are ready to grill, heat your griddle pan until it is screaming hot.  Imagining your grill pan is a clock and the lines on the grill run from 12 to 6 o’clock, put your chicken on point to the right at about 2 and 8 for three minutes.  Try to move the chicken with tongs. If it is still sticking, leave it on for another minute or so.



Turn the chicken over and point it to the left at about 11 and 5 for another three minutes.


Turn the chicken once more and keep it pointing left for about one minute.



Turn the last time and point it right for one more minute.   


Remove the breasts from the hot pan and allow to rest for a few minutes, lightly covered with foil.  These times are approximate, depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts. If you think yours may be thicker than average, cut the thickest part to check for doneness before serving and pop them back on the grill if you see any pink.

To serve, slice the chicken breasts on the diagonal.

Ingredients for salad
Salad greens (Romaine, Romaine hearts, Baby Cos, Rocket, Arugula – even some of your heartier spring mixes or mesclun. They need to be able to stand up to the thickness of the dressing.)
Caesar dressing
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Grilled chicken
Croutons (optional)

Method
Make sure your greens are clean and dry.  Drizzle them with your Caesar dressing and toss until lightly coated.  Add the Parmesan and croutons, then the chicken.  Serve, with extra freshly ground black pepper if desired. 




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