Monday, July 19, 2010

What's Cookin', Mama? (Recipe Swap): Chicken Caesar Salad (repost)

the Mom is hosting a weekly recipe swap at her blog. This week's theme: Last Minute Meals!

Chicken Caesar Salad is my go-to-last-minute-fix and so, although I've posted it before, it really is worth a repost :)

Defrost your chicken breasts in the microwave, or you can follow the Mom's great tip to partially defrost in a 150 degree oven (I'm going to try that trick as I hate using the microwave to defrost; it always partially cooks the stupid chicken).

Chicken Caesar Salad for a crowd (family of 8)

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced into thin strips along the bias
Salt and pepper to taste
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP flour
1 TBSP cornstarch
6 tsp vegetable oil, butter, coconut oil, or whatever you have on hand
1 head of romaine lettuce (or whatever lettuce you have on hand) torn or chopped into bite size pieces
1 cup freshly shredded parmesan (we actually use Peccorino Romano, as it is made from sheep's milk)
2 cups croutons ( you can buy these or make your own)
Caesar dressing or you can make your own dressing very quickly using equal parts mayo and sour cream, a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper to taste, one minced garlic clove, a couple tablespoons buttermilk or goat's milk or whatever milk you have in the fridge, and a mix of minced herbs, either fresh or dried.

After slicing chicken salt and pepper to taste and toss to distribute evenly. In large bowl stir together oil, flour, and cornstarch. Add sliced chicken and toss to coat. This is a technique for keeping chicken breast moist and tender called "velveting". I've found velveting the chicken is absolutely crucial to the flavor of this salad. In a large non-stick skillet heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium high heat until it shimmers. Add 1/3 of the chicken and spread out in pan so that one side is in complete contact with the pan and the pieces of chicken are not touching each other (this ensures a good sear and crust on the chicken and keeps the chicken from just steaming in the pan). Cook without stirring for one and a half to two minutes. Check one piece of chicken for a golden brown crust on cooked side. If this is accomplished, flip all the chicken pieces to the other side and cook on second side for another one and a half to two minutes, checking this side for doneness before transferring to a clean large bowl. Repeat process with a second third of the chicken and again with the remaining chicken adding more oil to the pan as needed between batches.

Layer lettuce, chicken, croutons, parmesan and dressing on each plate to serve.
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1 comment:

aka the Mom said...

Yum! I can't wait to try this on my next hectic night.

Isn't the oven defrost thing ingenious? I asked my grandmother what they did pre-microwave and she said "Made the oven warm and tossed it in there until it wasn't frozen any longer." Why didn't I think of that?