One of my favorite salads of all time, the Caesar Salad. If you have ordered one in a restaurant, it is one of those dishes that the chef walks up with the cart and makes a show of the preparation. It is a wonderful thing to see. The magic of this dish is the flavor complexity accomplished with the ingredient’s simplicity.
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
Many people mistakingly believe that this salad was invented in the Caesar Palace. This common misconception is wrong. It was invented by an Italian-Mexican in Tijuana named Caesar Cardini. Another topic of debate surrounding this dish is one is the use of anchovies. The original recipes contained no anchovies according to its creator. For my preference I can go either way, depending if I want a stronger taste or a much lighter taste. It is customary to serve the romaine lettuce leaves whole, because originally the dish was meant to be served as bar finger food. The addition of grilled chicken is one of those variations that work very well with the dish.
For Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
2 Chicken Breast
1 Teaspoon Oregano
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
4 Anchovies (optional)
4 Heads Romaine Lettuce
Flatten the chicken breast with a kitchen hammer. Marinate the chicken breast with a dash of salt, a dash pepper, and oregano. Brush both sides with a little olive oil. Cook in a frying pan on high heat until golden brown on one side. Turn over, and cook until the other side is golden brown. Cover in aluminum foil and let them rest. In a bowl mash the garlic cloves and 1/2 teaspoon of salt until you form a uniform paste. If you are going to add the optional anchovies, blend into the paste at this moment. Add the juice of 2 limes, an egg and the worcestershire sauce. Mix. Slowly mix in 1/2 cup of olive oil. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Mix until the caesar dressing is emulsified. Slice the chicken breast into 1/2 inch pieces. Wash the heads of lettuce. Shred the lettuce into small 1 inch pieces. Add the lettuce to the plate. Add 2 to 4 Tablespoons of caesar dressing per plate. Add the chicken pieces. Grate parmesan cheese over the salad. Add the croutons. Optional – you can leave the lettuce leaves intact and serve them as finger foods.
Hummus is a very popular Middle Eastern spread made from chickpeas and tahini. It is used as a dip for pita bread or vegetables. It can be a side order or sauce to a main course. I personally use it as a spread my everyday sandwiches, instead of using mayonnaise. It is much healthier since hummus is a good source of Iron, Vitamin C, Folic Acid. It is also high in Fiber. Even though you can buy hummus in any store nowadays, the hummus they sell is not as nutritious. I prefer to make my own.
Fire Roasted Red Tomato Hummus
There are two way to make hummus. You can use dried chickpeas and take about a day to make the recipe, or you can use canned chickpeas and take several minutes. The longer method takes better, but for most cooks don’t have the time. I also do a variant of hummus that includes garlic and fire roasted tomatoes. I love the smoke flavor that is achieved by the fire roasted tomatoes and the bite from the garlic.
For Fire Roasted Red Tomato Hummus
1 Cup Dried Chickpeas or a 15 Oz Canned Chickpeas
2 Fresh Tomatoes or a 15 Oz Fire Roasted Canned Tomatoes.
1 Minced Clove of Garlic
2 Tablespoons of Tahini
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Cumin
If you are using canned chickpeas you may skip ahead. First you have to clean the dried chickpeas from dirt and rocks they might have. Wash the chickpeas several times until the water is clean. Let soak in water overnight. Be sure to change the water at least once. The chickpeas will be double in size the next day. Wash them again. Add them to a large boiling pot. Cover them with water and bring to a boil. Cook them for 1 and 1/2 hours or until the chickpeas are really soft. Be sure not to add salt to the water or the chickpeas will turn out hard. Drain the chickpeas but reserve the cooking water. Put the prepared or canned chickpeas into a food processor, but reserve some for the garnish. Put the fresh tomatoes into a toaster oven an toast them until the skin is dark with blacken spots. You can also use ready made fire roasted canned tomatoes. Dice the tomatoes and add to the food processor. Add the garlic, tahini, olive oil, lime and cumin to food processor. Blend into a smooth paste. Add some of the reserve cooking water until you have the desired constancy. Some people prefer a thick dip and some prefer a softer one. Salt the dip according to taste. Place the hummus in a serving bowl. Add a dash of paprika. Place the reserved chickpeas as garnish. Server with vegetables, pita bread, or use as a sandwich spread. You can do a more traditional hummus omitting the tomatoes, garlic, and the cumin.