Now I know why everywhere I turn I see claims for ‘a traditional Caesar turned up,’ it’s taste is over the top! This meal came together in about 20 minutes but the flavors were all intensified by the char from the grill.
While the grill was heating up, I prepared bread to make croutons and on hand, we had a most delicious selection to stand up to a grilled salad. Of course we headed over to the SOTJ Farmer’s Market Saturday morning and saw THE bread man of Norwood Cottage Bakery. We slept in this weekend so we missed his Black Bean bread premier, however, we scored with a half loaf of Garlic Clove. Perfect for croutons for a Caesar Salad! I took 1/4 of the loaf and chopped it up into large square pieces, tossed them in olive oil, salt and pepper and put them into a 350° oven for about 10 minutes and then shifted the oven to the ‘warm’ setting to allow them to continue to crisp while I put dinner on the grill.
For the remainder, I seasoned a boneless, skinless chicken breast with canola oil, salt & pepper. Since it takes the longest to cook, I put that on the grill first for about 5 minutes on each side. My grill was topping the 400° mark so it went pretty fast. While that was grilling away, I sliced a large head of romaine lettuce in half vertically so that the root was still in place to hold the leaves together. It was also seasoned with oil, salt and pepper but this time I used garlic salt, it is a Caesar Salad after all. I also cut two lemons in half to place on the grill with the lettuce (on lowered heat) when the chicken was almost done.
It all came off the grill with beautiful grill marks. We each got a half of the lettuce head topped with sliced chicken, the Garlic Clove croutons, parmesan cheese and a drizzle of classic Caesar dressing (if I am only having it every so often, I like Kraft’s traditional dressing & dip), and two of the lemon pieces. Now, the biggest kick to this salad is the squeeze of the grilled lemon right before serving. The char from the grill adds a depth of flavor that is hard to explain but it is smoky & tart and because of the heat, you end up getting every drop of juice.
And just a heads up…when I went to get another napkin from the kitchen, my husband took about 1/2 of my croutons off of my plate and added them to what was left of his salad. Needless to say, the bread is that good! For those of you that don’t live in Richmond, you may want to visit just for the bread.