Ceasar Salad – My Version

By Katie

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Somehow on these hot 100º days here in Oklahoma, hot meals don’t seem so appealing anymore.

Salads, on the other hand, are very appealing.

Today after church, I was craving a ceasar salad with homemade dressing.

Please let me say right up front.  If you are one of those die-hard ceasar salad lovers and think that not using the raw eggs isn’t genuine, you might want to skip this post.

But if you do, you’ll be sorry! You’ll never miss those raw eggs in my recipe. Know why? Cuz I add mayonnaise.  And what is mayo but adding lemon juice and vinegar to…yes…raw eggs.  The mayo lends a creamy addition to the ceaser dressing and you’ll never miss the eggs.

I promise.

Begin by marinating your chicken in your favorite marinade. I am partial to the KC marinades – especially their Teriyaki Honey one.  Put a chicken breast in a gallon-size Ziploc bag and pour your marinade over.  Place in the refrigerator for an hour or two.

Preheat your oven to 350º.  I wish I could avoid this step, as the oven really heats up the kitchen in this warm weather, but then you (and I) would miss out on the homemade croutons.  Homemade croutons, in my opinion make this salad what it is – delicious!  I’ve read about sauteing them on the stove and I’m going to experiment with that.

I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Send the chicken out to the grill with your favorite grill man.  You will need approximately 1/2 -1 chicken breasts per person, depending on their appetites.

Cut up some french bread into bite-size pieces.  Estimate about 6-8 croutons per person.

croutoncut

Place your croutons on a foil-lined baking sheet. We want to keep clean-up minimal here.  Sprinkle croutons with olive oil.

croutonoil

Sprinkle with garlic powder and freshly cracked pepper.

croutonGP

Place in your oven for about 20-30 minutes.  Check them after 15.  Give them a shake-around to mix them up a bit.  Some people like to bake their croutons forever in a low heat (300º) and make them hard and crunchy.  I prefer a little softness inside. It’s really good for soaking up the yummy dressing we’re about to make.  The croutons will be golden brown and crisp on the outside after about 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven to cool.

tipsbakingsoda

You do NOT want to put them on the salad hot.  They will wilt your romaine.

I speak from past personal experience.

I’m going to show you just how easy homemade ceaser dressing is.  Again, this is my own personal preference on ceasar dressing, but give it a try.

Okay, let’s just get the icky stuff out of the way.

**Keep an open mind about this step.

Take one 2 oz. tin of anchovies.  Yes, I said anchovies.

Trust me. You aren’t going to taste them in a gross way.  They just add a layer of somethin-somethin to the dressing.

Throw them all in your food processor.

anchovies

There is no real way to make them look good in a picture. Sorry.

Now toss in 2 cloves of garlic and 3 Tablespoons of stone ground mustard.

garlic

mustard

Add 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar.

vinegar

Add in 2 Tablespoons of worcestershire sauce.

worch

Psstt…if you’re grossed out by anchovies, guess what?

They’ve always been in worcestershire sauce and you’ve probably been tasting them all along.

Dump in one cup of parmesan cheese.

parm

Add one cup of mayonnaise.  I used the real stuff.

mayo

Squeeze in half a lemon.

lemon

And just because it makes it wonderful.  Add 2 Tablespoons of honey (or 1/8 cup).

oil

I know.  I know.  Honey in ceasar dressing? It just cuts the sourness a tad, you can’t really taste honey.

Trust me.  It’s fabulous.

Crack in a little black pepper.  No salt is really needed as the anchovies and parmesan add it for you.

pepper

Put your top on your processor and whir it up for about a minute or until it’s smooth.

Pour it into a bowl.

dressing

At this point, my croutons were cool and Mr. Wonderful and the kids were dipping them in the dressing and I had to slap their hands.

Take your romaine lettuce.  I used a head for each person.  We were eating it as a meal remember.

romaine

Cut or tear it into bite size-chunks.

romainechop

Toss it into a bowl and shave some fresh Parmesan over it.

cheese

cheeseon

Take your bowl of croutons and pour them on top.

Spoon some of your dressing over the lettuce and Parmesan.

dressingon

croutonson

Take your tongs and toss the salad so as to get dressing on every piece.

toss

Layer on sliced grilled chicken and eat.

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Sigh….

This salad definitely fits the bill for a hot summer day.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Katie’s Printable Recipe – Chicken Ceaser Salad

Cooking with Love,

~Katie

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