During the dog days of summer I could eat salad every day. There is just something about the crisp refreshing flavors of garden fresh greens and veggies that I crave. One of our family favorites is Chicken Caesar Salad. Over the years I’ve perfected our home recipe which relies on a homemade dressing, baked garlic croutons, and velveted chicken.
Creamy Caesar-Style Dressing
I make homemade mayo from the eggs our hens lay, but any jarred mayo will do. You may need to add a touch more olive oil and vinegar to get the right consistency.
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I make my own but any mayo will do)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
3 anchovy fillets packed in oil; rinsed and patted dry
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients in a blender. Pour into a container and refrigerate while preparing the rest of the salad ingredients.
6 slices bread of your choice; remove the crusts and cut the remaining bread into 1-inch cubes
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP melted unsalted butter
1/2-1 tsp garlic powder
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Toss bread cubes with olive oil, garlic powder, and salt. Spread evenly in one layer onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning every five minutes until cubes are golden brown and crispy. Set aside.
Velveting the chicken before sautéing makes for a crisp caramelized exterior and a tender juicy interior. It is important that you do not use a non-stick skillet as the chicken will not properly caramelize.
5 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut evenly into bite sized pieces
2 TBSP avocado oil*
2 TBSP cornstarch
2TBSP all purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl stir together the oil, cornstarch, flour, and salt and pepper. Add chicken pieces and toss until thinly and evenly coated with the mixture.
In a large skillet heat a couple teaspoons of oil until shimmering. Working in batches add the chicken in a single layer with plenty of space between pieces so the chicken will brown evenly. Allow chicken to cook without moving or stirring for 3 minutes. Using tongs turn each chunk to cook on each remaining side until golden brown on all sides and cooked completely through 8-10 minutes in total. Remove chicken from pan to a platter. Add a bit more oil before adding another batch of chicken. Repeat entire process until all the chicken has been cooked. Depending on the size of your pan it may take 2-3 batches to complete. Set chicken aside as you assemble the salad.
To assemble the salad:
Cut up 2-3 heads of romaine lettuce. On each plate place 2 cups of lettuce and a large scoop of chicken. Top with Caesar dressing, grated parmesan, and croutons.
In the fall and winter I might add homemade artisan bread to round out the meal. In the summer cool, crisp watermelon is our goto side.
*I just recently learned that cooking EVOO at high heat ruins beneficial nutrients it contains. I’ve switched to avocado oil for cooking, which can handle medium to high heat without destroying it’s nutritional benefits.