Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lemony Chicken Caesar Salad With Garlic-Parmesan Toasts

After the wretched excess of fat, calories and salt last night, I decided to make a salad.  It's a Ceaser salad, so it really doesn't count as 'light', but it is a heck of a lot lighter than last nights;), and my husband loves Ceaser salad.  Now my husband is constantly offering to go to the store for ribeyes and potatoes to make the kimchi fries again, but we are going to need to hold off on that recipe for a bit.  I thought it interesting that this recipe uses mascarpone in place of egg yolks in the dressing.  (plus I can mix the rest with some honey for one of my all time favorite sweet spreads)  I liked the dressing too, but next time I would put in some anchovies or anchovy paste.  I felt it's absence.  I cooked chicken for the salad, but it is perfect for leftovers, or store bought rotisserie, and makes it fast and easy.  Only thing to keep in mind, the croutons are best fresh out of the oven.  If you make them ahead, they get kinda stale pretty quick.

Lemony Chicken Caesar Salad With Garlic-Parmesan Toasts

For the vinaigrette
1    lemon
1/4 c  freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2    Tbs. mascarpone (or cream cheese)
2 t  Dijon mustard
1    small clove garlic,chopped, sprinkled with a pinch of kosher salt
1/4 t  Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c  extra-virgin olive oil
1 t  chopped fresh thyme
Couple dashes of Tabasco
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
2    Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1    small clove garlic,chopped, sprinkled with a pinch of kosher salt
1/8 t  crushed red pepper flakes
1/2    baguette,cut into eight 1/2-inch-thick slices
3/4 c  freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 c  thinly sliced leftover roast chicken
1 lb romaine hearts (about 2 medium),cored, washed, spun dry, and cut

Make the vinaigrette:
Finely grate about 1 Tbs. zest from the lemon. Squeeze the lemon to get
2 Tbs. juice. In a blender or mini chopper, pure (as much as possible)
the lemon juice, Parmigiano, mascarpone, mustard, garlic, and
Worcestershire sauce, scraping the sides as needed. While pureing,
drizzle in the oil, slowly at first and then in a more steady stream as
the mixture thickens and emulsifies. Thin the vinaigrette with water if
needed. Add the lemon zest, thyme, and Tabasco and pure. Taste and
season generously with salt and pepper (about 1 tsp. of each) and more
lemon juice if you like.
Prepare the salad:
Heat the oven to 425F. In a small bowl, mix the oil, garlic, and red
pepper flakes. Set the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush them
with the oil mixture. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano. Bake
until browned, 10 to 12 min.
In a small bowl, toss the chicken with about 1/4 cup of the dressing.
In a large bowl, toss the romaine and 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano with
enough dressing to coat lightly (you might not need it all). Add salt
and pepper to taste.
Put the dressed greens on plates and top with the chicken and a drizzle
of dressing, if any remains. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup
Parmigiano and some black pepper and serve immediately with the toasts.

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