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.
This salad is a recent invention of mine that combines ingredients of several other salads that I like. It draws its main inspiration from the famous Waldrof Salad. I use three different lettuces to give it variety of color and texture. The romaine lettuce to add to the salad’s crispiness which is further magnified by the apples and the walnuts. Red and green loose-leaf lettuce give the salad some contrast in color, and make it a sweeter, softer flavor that blends perfectly with the honey and the ash covered goat cheese.
Apple Pecan Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
Instead of using grapes, like in the traditional Waldrof salad , I preffer raisins. I also omit the mayonnaise dressing in favor of a Honey Mustard Vinaigrette. To top it all up I sprinkle some chopped walnuts, and ash covered goat cheese to give it some tang. Overall I could say that this salad is a very fresh take on contrasting flavors and textures. It is crisp,soft, tangy and sweet all at once. If there is an ingredient that brings the whole salad together it is the pecans. The pecans server as an earthly flavoring that stands in middle ground to balance the crisp from the soft, and the tangy from the sweet. It is crisp,soft, tangy and sweet all at once.
Per request of my readers, I will post the recipe. If you enjoy it please leave me a comment in the bottom of this post.
For the salad
2 cups of Romain Lettuce
2 cups of Red Loose-Leaf Lettuce
2 cups of Green Loose-Leaf Lettuce
1/3 cup of Raisins
1/4 cup of Pecans
3 0z Soft Goat Cheese (ash covered optional)
Wash and disinfect the three types of lettuce. A good tip is to wash the lettuce in ice cold water to give the salad more crispiness. Rinse off the water. Hand shred the lettuce to bite size pieces and add to a big bowl. Peel and core the apples, and cut them up into 3/4 of an inch pieces. Add the apples to the bowl. Chop the pecans in half or into quarters depending on your preference and add to the bowl. Finally add the raisins to the bowl and toss the salad to mix all the ingredients. Serve into plates. Make sure to have good portions of all the ingredients. Add the goat cheese in small slices to the served plates and drizzle with the honey mustard vinaigrette according to your own taste.
For the Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
1/4 cup of Honey
3 Tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar (Cider or Red Wine Vinegar can substitute)
1 clove of garlic (optional to taste)
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons of Virgin Olive Oil
1 pinch Kosher Salt
Coarsely ground black pepper (to taste)
Add the honey to a medium size mixing bowl. Add the vinegar and the mustard and whisk until fully integrated. Finely mince the clove of garlic. I would say that the garlic is optional because some people do not enjoy it. Add the kosher salt and grind some black pepper to the mixture. Whisk it once more. Continue whisking and slowly add the olive oil. You can vary the amount according to the thickness you want for the salad dressing. If you add more oil it will become thinner. If you prefer a thick dressing add less. Same goes for the honey. If you prefer it sweeter add more honey. The final result should be an emulsion that does not separate.