A fresh take on a salad classic. Grilling the romaine lettuce, bread or rolls and chicken for a Caesar Salad enhances the salad's flavor beautifully. A lightened up creamy Caesar dressing tops it all off.
Prep Time 20minutes
Cook Time 12minutes
Total Time 32minutes
Servings 4large entree salads or 6 side salad servings
2-3teaspoonmixed Fresh Herbs(I used lemon thyme, oregano, chives and a bit of rosemary; use the flavors you love best), diced
Ingredients for the Light & Creamy Caesar Dressing:
1/3cupLight Sour Cream
2teaspoonsRed Wine Vinegar
1teaspoonfreshly ground Black Pepper
Ingredients for the Salad and grilling:
1poundboneless , skinless Chicken Breastsusually 2 breasts per pound
3Romaine Lettuce Heartsthey are usually sold in packages of 3; rinsed and patted dry unless purchasing washed lettuce hearts
For Gluten-eaters: 4-6 thick slices of French Bread(baguette)
For Gluten-free eaters: 4 Udi’s French Dinner rolls(or equivalent gluten-free bread option)
½cupgrated Parmesan Cheese
Optional: a handful of wood to add smoke to the chicken grilling(I used apple wood) and a piece of heavy duty foil approximately 8 inches by 6 inches)
Herb olive oil (for grilling)
Combine the ¼ cup of olive oil and fresh herbs in a bowl. Set aside.
Prepare the dressing
In a small mixing bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients to fully combine: light sour cream, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, anchovy paste, garlic cloves, Dijon mustard, black pepper and salt. Cover and set aside or refrigerate if using later.
Grill the Chicken
Heat the grill to medium heat at 350 degrees (gas or charcoal). Clean and oil the grill. If adding smoke to the chicken follow the next step instead.
TO ADD SMOKE TO THE CHICKEN BREAST GRILLING (optional): Place the piece of foil at the back of the heating grill and add the wood on top of the foil. When the grill reaches 350 degrees and the wood begins to smoke, clean and oil the grill. (NOTE: use about half the amount of wood chips shown in the photo)
While the grill is heating, place the chicken breasts between two sheets of wax paper and pound them to an even thickness. They should be aproximately 1/2-inch thick (refer to the grill photo). This ensures even cooking.
Lightly brush one side of the chicken breasts with the olive oil-herb mixture. Place the chicken breasts on the prepared grill, olive oil brushed side facing the grill, for 1 ½ minutes with the grill lid closed; rotate 90 degrees and cook for another 1 ½ minutes (the rotation makes the great grill marks).
Lightly brush the top of the chicken breasts and flip them over on the grill. Grill 1 ½ minutes then rotate 90 degrees and cook another 1 ½ minutes. The internal temperature of the chicken breasts should register 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer and any juice will run clear. Note: if using smaller chicken breast portions modify the cooking time to not overcook.
Remove from the grill to rest. Carefully remove the foil and wood chips if smoking.
Grilling the Bread/Rolls
If using rolls slice them lengthwise. Brush the cut side lightly with the olive oil-herb mixture and place face down on the grill. Brush the top side of the bread/rolls with the olive oil mixture while on the grill. Watch carefully and flip over as soon as grill marks appear (30 seconds to 1 minute per side). Set aside.
Grilling the Romaine Lettuce
Remove any damaged outer leaves. Slice the lettuce lengthwise retaining the root which will hold the lettuce together during grilling.
Lightly brush both sides of the lettuce with the olive oil-herb mixture and place on the grill. Grill until marks appear; 1-2 minutes. Flip over and repeat. Remove and allow to rest for a few minutes.
Assemble the salad
Chop off the root from the grilled lettuce hearts and discard. Slice across the romaine hearts and add to a serving bowl.
Cut the grilled bread/rolls into bite-size pieces and add to the bowl. Slice chicken across the breast and add to the bowl. Toss with the dressing and parmesan cheese; serve.
Timing NoteThe time to heat the grill is not included in the overall time.The overall grilling time can be reduced by grilling the lettuce and bread at the same time however they need to be watched closely to not char them more than desired.Storing leftoversThis salad is best eaten when first made. It can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator however once the lettuce has been grilled it does not retain the same nice texture once stored.