Sunday, April 28, 2013

Southwest Chicken on Caesar Salad

I said chicken tonight and Fern asked "On a Caesar Salad?"
"It is now!" and I scurried off to the store to pick up romaine.

Caesar Salad is called dated. It's also called delicious! There's nothing quite like a fresh Caesar dressing on a hot summer day.

Caesar Salad Dressing - for 2

1 egg yolk
1/3 to 1/2 cup oil ( a little extra virgin then filled up with neutral taste oil)
1 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 anchovy filet (usually don't have. I might try fish sauce next time, it's the umami flavor we're after)
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 cup croutons
1 head romaine

First make mayonnaise.  Add 1 tsp oil to egg yolk. Tilt bowl and whip egg yolk with whisk, picking up a little oil at a time until all oil is emulsified. Using more than a teaspoon at a time will result in broken sauce, oil will separate. Continue 1 tsp at a time till all oil is emulsified.  If you break it, start with a fresh yolk and add broken sauce 1 tsp at a time, then remaining oil.

Make croutons from the best bread available, I use Alpine, it has a wonderful nutty flavor. I took two slices of bread and put them in the toaster long enough to dry but not brown. Cut them into cubes and toss them in hot oil with salt and black pepper till they have a nice brown on them. Keep adding oil to keep the pan from drying. Put aside to cool.

Crush garlic clove and chop finely.  Add garlic, salt, pepper, Worcestershire, anchovy and lemon juice to the mayo, whisk and taste.  Adjust salt, lemon juice and pepper till it tastes good. Lemon juice reduces saltiness and salt reduces acid in lemon juice.

Cut the papery tops off the romaine and remove the outer leaves.  Cut the remainder into bite size pieces, rinse and spin dry in a salad spinner. I find giving it a spin then shaking it then another spin removes all the water. Put in biggest bowl, add dressing and toss till all is coated.  Add croutons and parmesan and toss. 

Southwest Spice Rub

2 tbsp  chili powder
2 tbsp paprika
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp  brown sugar
2 tsp Mexican oregano
1 tsp granulated garlic
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp cayenne (optional, but it really helps)

Salt the chicken first then coat with spice rub, I spray a little oil on it too if I think of it. Lay on medium heat BBQ grill for a couple of minutes, rotate for a couple, turn over for two minutes, rotate for two minutes then put on grill off the flame, turn heat down and close cover.  Cook chicken for 25-30 minutes total cooking time.

The chicken can be rested then sliced and served on top of the salad or on a side plate. I find we prefer one plate in spring but by fall we want the chicken on a side plate. Either way it's a wonderful summer meal. Filling but not heavy. I think it took me about an hour to put together, time well spent. Don't cut hot meat, all the moisture escapes as steam and the meat becomes dry and tasteless.

I forgot to photograph my plate so I had to borrow a photo from an earlier salad however both plates were identical.

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