Have you ever made Chicken Caesar Salad from scratch? I posted this question on my Facebook last week, and unsurprisingly, quite a few of my friends said they usually just get a bottle of Caesar salad dressing from the store and enjoy a little on some Romaine. Add some store-bought croutons, and voila! One has a Caesar salad without all the trouble of a homemade one.
I can’t say I blame them, for making a Chicken Caesar Salad is not simple. And there are a lot of bowls, kitchen utensils, and a blender to wash when done. But, at least now, I can say I’ve attempted a lighter version of Caesar salad dressing from scratch. Now, I love the techniques of Tyler Florence on Food Network, which is why I looked at his Classic Chicken Caesar Salad recipe for ideas, and then tweaked it around, lightening it to my taste.
The Croutons Rock
My verdict? Next time, I’ll use Caesar salad dressing from the grocery store, but I’ll make my own croutons. Oh. My. Gosh. The croutons are out of this world. If nothing else, try making your own croutons. And report back. I’d love to know how your Chicken Caesar salad turns out!
Best Chicken Caesar Salad With Homemade Croutons
Sauteed Chicken Fillets
- 4 medium chicken tenderloin fillets
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ medium baguette cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoons garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 head romaine lettuce torn (set aside in a bowl)
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 2½ tablespoons light mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 medium lemon juiced, about 2 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon water extra water may be needed if your dressing is too thick
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil EVOO
- ¼ cup Parmesan freshly grated
- ⅛ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper freshly ground
Sauteed Chicken Fillets
- Heat pan to medium-high.
- When the pan is hot, put the oil in, and spread it around to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper.
- Place fillets in the pan, and cook for 3 ½ – 4 minutes on each side. They should be golden brown.
- Take out and let rest 10 minutes on a cutting board. Cut the fillets diagonally, place them in a container, and refrigerate them for use later.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Cover the bottom of a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
- Use a bread knife to cube the baguette.
- Put the baguette cubes on the parchment paper.
- Drizzle the EVOO over the cubed bread.
- Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, and Italian Seasoning.
- Stir the baguette cubes around to make sure the coating is over them all.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 375°F. The croutons will have a lightly toasted look to them when done. They are just crunchy enough (not too hard, not too soft). These croutons are the perfect texture to enjoy with a Caesar salad.
- Tear the Romaine into a large bowl, and set aside.
- Put the anchovy paste, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, and water into a blender, and blend for 45 seconds.
- As the blender runs, pour the EVOO in very slowly so as to blend the dressing and marry the flavors.
- Add ⅛ cup grated Parmesan and stir. Season with salt (if you want additional saltiness) and pepper.
- If you are serving the salad immediately, add just enough dressing to lightly coat the Romaine. Top with the extra Parmesan, sautéed chicken cutlets, and the croutons, and toss. Serve and enjoy.
- If you will be making the salad later, refrigerate the dressing (and the lettuce, separately) and take it out when you are ready to serve the Caesar salad. See topping instructions in step #4.