Updated September 24, 2014
chicken breasts, cut into a bite-sized dice
cup caesar dressing, divided
slices whole wheat bread, cut into a small dice
tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
bunches romaine hearts, sliced and chopped
cup parmesan cheese shavings, for garnish
pinch coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Place the chicken in a small sealable bag or small bowl. Pour 1/4th cup dressing over the chicken, cover and marinate for at least an hour.
Arrange the bread chunks on a toaster sheet. Brush with half the oil and sprinkle with garlic salt; toss. Toast until crispy, about 10 minutes. Let it rest until you're ready to use.
Brush an indoor or outdoor grill with the remaining tbsp. oil. Skewer the marinated chicken onto metal or wooden skewers. Grill until chicken is cooked through and has grill marks on all sides, 10 minutes. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over each skewer. Let rest for a couple of minutes.
Arrange the lettuce on a large platter or plates. Top with chicken skewers, homemade wheat croutons, and parmesan shavings, if desired. Drizzle with remaining caesar dressing, give another good grind of black pepper and serve.
More About This Recipe
- No matter how you spell it, this kebab salad isn't messing around.
Okay, for the life of me I cannot spell Caesar. I mean, I can, but it takes me at least 7,254 attempts to get it right. Ceazer. Ceasar. Caezar. Caeser. Ceezer. Caazer. Ceeser. Breezer. Tweezer. Fleezer. Cheeser. Teaser. AND that's my head.
However the wonk a tonk you spell it, this classic salad in kebab form is so mind-numbingly tasty, you won't even care if you ever spell anything right, ever again.
Matter of fact, I think Julius Caesasserar himself PREFERS us to misspell it. And to wear a toga when we eat this awesome kebaby salad. That way we can put all of our focus into the succulent flavors of the grilled chicken, the crisp crunch of the romaine lettuce leaves, and the blissfully pungent cesrasersrsar dressing that so perfectly coats the salad. And the croutons and parmesan cheese, oh my heart.
Oh he has nothing to do with this salad? Oh.
Well, whatever. I'm STILL WEARING A TOGA.
Let's make it! This is so simple. Grab some chicken breasts, romaine, some whole wheat bread slices, caesar dressing, garlic salt and olive oil.
Cut up the chicken in a kebab-sized dice and coat it with half of the dressing. You can marinate this in the fridge for as long as you want. I did for about an hour.
Cut up the bread into small squares. Brush with the oil and sprinkle with the garlic salt. Toast for about 10 minutes. Aaaand croutons, yo.
Then you just skewer up your chicken on either metal or wooden skewers. Grill them up nicely on an outdoor or indoor grill for about 10 minutes total. Mmmmm.
Then you just arrange it on a serving platter or plate! Lettuce leaves, chicken kebabs, croutons, the rest of the dressing, some fresh parmesan shavings, and a good grind of black pepper to seal the deal.
So simple. So perfect. So CAESARLICOUS.
Well, well. Look who can spell!
More Fresh Stuff for Spring
Bev's recipe above is based on this salad recipe by Eat Better America. For more healthy recipes like this one, click on this link: Eat Better America recipes. *Bev hopes you have a hard time spelling casersfsdfsar too. She needs someone else in her club. For more musings, visit her blog at Bev Cooks and her Tablespoon profile.
Having been forced to shift from heavily eating out to almost exclusively cooking at home this year, I've become very conscious of things that I commonly dine on, but have never made myself. Caesar salad falls into that category&mdashit's often my salad of choice at restaurants and if I have ever had it inside my home, it was most definitely from a bag. So Caesar salad fell into the grouping of things I needed to learn to make, and partly because I love grilling, and partly because this was going to be our main course for the evening, I decided to do it up as a grilled chicken Caesar salad.
Having extra time on my hands has also led me to begin posting a backlog of content that I had written for Serious Eats, but never migrated to The Meatwave. One of the most popular things I ever wrote for Serious Eats was a guide for grilling the juiciest skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Now that knowledge is finally in my own guides section, and I applied that tried and true procedure here, which began with pounding the chicken out to an even thickness because the natural uneven shape of the breast equates to uneven cooking, which is not good eats.
Since chicken breasts are pretty fat free and neutral in flavor, it's always a good idea to introduce a marinade and/or brine to help with both of those issues. I decided a marinade that built off the flavor of the Caesar dressing would be appropriate here and whisked up a combo of extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon, garlic, salt, and pepper.
I then placed the flattened breasts in a Ziploc bag and added in the marinade. Due to the high acid content from the lemon juice, I wanted a short soaking time to avoid the chicken becoming mushy. So I did this step of the process just a couple hours before it was going to be grilling time.
Next up was crouton creation, which are my favorite part of the salad. I took a tip from Kenji's Caesar salad recipe here and flavored the oil for the croutons by adding in garlic and whisking. This gave the oil a good garlicky flavor, and then the garlic was strained away to be used in the dressing.
I cut my crusty rustic bread into pretty large cubes about 1-inch square since I wanted to ensure they wouldn't fall through the grates during cooking. I then placed the bread cubes into a large bowl and tossed with the garlic infused oil and a couple tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Now it was onto the dressing, which in essence, is a seasoned mayonnaise. I usually use my food processor to make quick work of mayo production, but a couple recent failures using that method led me to go with hand whisking, which I find to be more failsafe for me. I whisked together an egg yolk, parmesan, reserved garlic, lemon juice, Worcestershire, Dijon, and the required anchovies first, then, while whisking briskly and constantly, slowly began to drizzle in the combo of canola and extra-virgin olive oils. Once the emulsion formed, I increase the stream of oil and pretty quickly I had my finished dressing that had all the savory and tangy qualities of the best Caesar dressings.
All the indoor pieces of the recipe were now complete and I could finally move onto the more fun grilling pieces. After lighting 3/4 of a chimney of charcoal and arranging the lit coals on one side of the charcoal grate, I started with toasting the bread cubes to turn them into croutons. I placed the bread as far from the fire as I could because I wanted them to dry out and brown at the same time, and if they were too close to the coals they would brown without becoming crusty throughout. It took about ten minutes for the bread to reach its ideal crunchy crouton state, at which point I transferred the bread bits back to the bowl and tossed them with another couple tablespoons of parmesan.
The chicken was next, which I cooked over direct heat. My goal with the chicken was to brown it without overcooking it, which happens best with a medium-high fire around 375-425°F. I found the ideal spot to deliver that range of heat and grilled the chicken, flipping occasionally, until the center reached 150°F, at which point the exterior was golden with attractive grill marks as well.
I waffled a lot with the idea of grilling the romaine here. I thought it seemed appropriate for a "grilled Caesar salad," but I didn't really want a salad of all warm and wilted lettuce. Going back and forth eventually led me to the idea of grilling half of the lettuce to get the best of both worlds&mdashsome leaves would have that unique char from the grill, while others would provide the coolness and crisp crunch you usually want from lettuce.
I grilled the romaine halves cut side down until the edges lightly charred, which only took a couple minutes. I then transferred them to a cutting board and roughly chopped the leaves and placed them in a large bowl.
I then added in the fresh lettuce, about 2/3 of the croutons, and about 1/2 of the dressing. I then tossed and tasted and continued adding in more dressing until it was seasoned to my liking. I ended up not needing all the dressing this recipe made, but I know some folks like more dressing than me, so it's worth making the entire thing so you have enough on hand to suit your own tastes.
To serve, I transferred the dressed salad to a large platter, topped with the grilled chicken and remaining croutons, and then grated on fresh parmesan along with some larger cheese shavings. This dish both delivered the comforting flavors of Caesar salad along with some uniqueness due to all its grilled components. The combo of charred and fresh lettuce felt right, providing a cool crunch and a boost of a grilled character overall. The chicken made this made the dish meal worthy, and the meat was juicy with a bright flavor that was a good match against the creamy, tangy, and savory dressing. For me, the croutons almost always steal the show, and they did that even more here being not just fresh and homemade, but also embedded with a ton of flavor themselves thanks to the garlicky oil and sharp cheese. It definitely felt good to finally make something that's so ubiquitous in my life, but I really had only an inkling on how to make myself, which had been a common thread to a lot of my recipes in 2020.
- ½ cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¾ (2 ounce) can anchovies, drained
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large egg
- ½ medium lemon, juiced
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon prepared horseradish
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
- ½ cup Caesar salad croutons
Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat and lightly oil the grate.
Combine 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, olive oil, anchovies, garlic, egg, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, pepper, and horseradish in a blender blend until smooth. Set dressing aside.
Cook chicken on the preheated grill, flipping halfway through, until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 10 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Slice chicken when cool enough to handle.
Place romaine lettuce in a large bowl and pour dressing over top toss until completely coated. Top with grilled chicken, remaining Parmesan, and croutons.
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- ½ cup mesquite-lime marinade
- ½ head lettuce, torn into small pieces
- 1 large tomato, cut into wedges
- ½ sweet onion, sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup large cheese and garlic croutons
- ½ cup creamy Caesar-style salad dressing
In a shallow baking pan, arrange chicken and pour mesquite-lime marinade over all. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 1/2 hour before grilling.
Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to medium high heat.
Grill chicken breasts for approximately 15 minutes on each side, or until meat is cooked through and is no longer pink inside. Remove from heat, cool and slice into strips.
In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, tomato, onion, pepper, cheese, croutons, dressing and chicken until evenly coated. Serve immediately.
- To start off, preheat your grill to medium heat. Season the chicken breasts with our Organic Adobo Seasoning on all sides.
- Place on your grill skin-side down first, for about 5 minutes. Monitor to ensure the chicken doesn't burn. (Doing skin side down first will help to oil the grates, and prevent the chicken from sticking.)
- Turn the chicken to bone side down, reduce heat to medium low, and cook for 25-30 minutes, turning occasionally to cook evenly.
- While the chicken is grilling, prepare the dressing.
- In a tall, wide mouth mason jar, add the garlic, egg yolk, mustard, pepper, lemon juice, and capers.
- Use a stick or immersion blender, and grind up the dressing ingredients. Once ground up, add in the olive oil and beat on high until it forms a creamy dressing.
- Rinse and chop up the romaine lettuce, then place into a large container with a lid (or gallon zip top bag). Add 2-3 heaping spoonfuls of the dressing, and shake vigorously to coat the lettuce.
- When the chicken is finished cooking, allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, then chop up.
- Top the salad with the chicken and olives (optional) and serve!