I usually just make a Caesar salad with bottled dressing and store-bought croutons - but over the summer I wanted to try making it from scratch. The addition of the grilled chicken - makes this a meal in itself. But the highlight for me was the croutons - I will be making these again and again. I also really liked the dressing - its a oily ceasar dressing - not creamy. For a salad - this requires a bit of prep - that should either be done the night before or on the weekend - which might make this hard to pull together on a weeknight.
For the dressing:
- 4 canned anchovy fillets
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
For the croutons:
- 1 baguette French bread
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2-4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
- Kosher salt
For the salad:
- Romaine lettuce, washed and dried
- Thin-sliced chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper
- Parmesan cheese
1. To make the dressing, combine the anchovy fillets, garlic, Dijon, Worcestershire, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse, or blend on low speed for several seconds, until well-combined. Scrape down the sides.
2. With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and process again to thoroughly combine. Add a dash of kosher salt and black pepper.
3. Add the Parmesan cheese. Pulse once more until well combined. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least two hours to allow the flavors to mingle.
4. To make the croutons, preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
5. Cut the French bread into 1-inch cubes. Spread the cubes of bread on a baking sheet.
6. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
7. Crush the whole cloves of garlic and add them to the oil. Stir them around for about 5 minutes to infuse the oil with the garlic flavor. Remove from the heat and discard the garlic cloves.
8. Drizzle the oil over the bread cubes. Toss lightly with your hands to help coat the bread with the oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
9. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
10. After the croutons have baked for 1 hour, turn the heat up to 400 degrees F. Bake the croutons at 400 degrees for 3-5 minutes, just until they have been lightly browned - do not walk away from the oven since they will burn very quickly! Allow the croutons to cool.
11. Season chicken breast with pepper and salt and brush with olive oil. Grill chicken breasts, either on an indoor or outdoor grill until cooked though. Set aside.
12. To make the salad, cut or tear the romaine lettuce into pieces.
13. Transfer the lettuce to serving bowls and top with croutons and sliced chicken breast.
14 Top with Parmesan cheese (either shaved with a vegetable peeler, or grated) and the homemade ceasar dressing.
adapted from Annie's Eats - originally from Pioneer Woman