It’s summer. It’s hot. Salad is the perfect answer to the weather; what better way to satisfy your hunger than with a Chicken Caesar Salad? How about adding homemade croutons and a super quick homemade creamy Caesar Dressing!
I make a creamy Caesar dressing from scratch that involves coddling eggs; another that requires raw egg yolks. I know many people are fearful of raw/partially raw eggs, so I thought I’d come up with a quick version that removes that fear. This recipe is it. And it’s delicious.
In my mind, besides the dressing, the croutons make a Caesar salad. Normally, I will pick out the croutons from restaurant salads unless I know that they make them fresh. There is something about packaged croutons that reminds me of bricks; it’s probably that they have the same density.
These croutons are so incredibly tasty…and so SO easy. There is one little “secret” ingredient that makes them. Who knew such a tiny addition would make such a difference?
Anyway, since I was making kind of a cheater dressing…and since it’s so hot out (and I really didn’t want to heat my oven for 30-40 minutes to cook the chicken), I decided to take the cheating to another level. I bought and used the breast meat from a rotisserie chicken. You know, rotisserie chicken, already cooked, was less expensive than a whole, raw chicken…or even a package of boneless skinless breasts? What a treat! I even had the rest of the meat leftover to make a small chicken salad for lunch sandwiches!
This was the perfect answer for dinner on a day when the thermometer on my front porch, in the shade, reached 100 degrees!
Check out Summer Salad Sundays for more salad ideas. It’s the best way to beat the heat.
- 1 head romaine lettuce hearts, chopped
- 1 rotisserie chicken breast meat, chopped (or two boneless, skinless breasts, baked)
- FOR THE DRESSING:
- 1 cup Greek style plain yogurt
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ½ lemon, juiced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 fillets of anchovy (about ½ of a 2 ounce tin) plus two fillets for garnish
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- A dash of Tabasco sauce (or other hot sauce – I used about 4 shakes)
- A pinch of herbes de Provence
- Coarse ground black pepper, to taste*
- FOR THE CROUTONS:
- 2 cups fresh French bread, cubed (I used the remnants of a mini boule)
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons chicken stock**
- A pinch of rosemary, crushed (or minced finely, if fresh)
- 1 clove garlic, minced and crushed
- FOR SALAD GARNISH:
- 1 ounce (about) Parmesan cheese, shaved or coarsely grated
- Chop the romaine lettuce and place in a large bowl.
- Sprinkle the cooked, chopped chicken over the romaine in the bowl.
- In a food processor, or blender, add all the ingredients of the dressing and puree.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix all the ingredients for the croutons and toss until the butter and the chicken stock is absorbed.
- Place the croutons on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool (about 5 minutes). They will cool more quickly if you remove them from the baking sheet.
- Sprinkle the croutons over the ingredients in the salad bowl.
- Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the ingredients in the salad bowl.
- Add the reserved anchovy fillets as garnish.
- Serve with the dressing, either tossed onto the salad or on the side.***
**The “secret” ingredient! You won’t BELIEVE what this adds to the croutons!
***I prefer less dressing than most people, so I prefer to serve the dressing on the side and allow people to add their desired amount.