Interesting fact about Caesar, it is not actually pronounced see-zar in its native latin. C for the Romans was pronounced like K and the AE is actually more of an I sound. This makes the pronunciation sound like the German word kaiser, also meaning emperor. Isn’t linguistics neat? Next time you go into a restaurant insist on a Kaiser salad instead! Or don’t, you really should not give the person who handles your food a hard time, lest you end up with a few pubic hairs mixed in.
Ok for this simple, yet impressive dish you will need:
- 2-3 romaine lettuce heads
- 2 TB dijon mustard
- 1 t
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breast
- 3 lemons
- 4 cloves garlic
- salt and pepper
- 4 egg yolks
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar or reduction
- salad fixin’s: I used bell pepper, onion, avocado, basil and hungarian sweet pepper
I started by poking a bunch of holes in my chicken with a fork and marinating them in the dijon, some salt and pepper, garlic powder, and the juice of one lemon. Pop that in the fridge overnight or for a few hours. Next I soaked a few chunks of alder wood for smoke, then started up the dual zone fire.
By now cooking the chicken should be no difficult feat; sear over direct heat and finish on indirect heat. While the chicken is finishing(to an internal temp >160F) build your salad. Rub the heads of romaine with oil and sear them on the grill for a couple of minutes on each side. Also, lob your lemon in half and put that on the grill, cut side down, until you get a nice char.
Next build your dressing, which is a caesar-style aoli. Aoli’s take patience grasshopper, add the oil in slowly you must. I guess that sounded like Yoda crossed with Mr. Myagi, but you get the idea. Press your garlic and combine it with the juice form one lemon until you get a paste, add in your egg yolks and whisk well until everything is incorporated. If you do not have an electric beater and are armed with nothing but a lowly wire whisk, I suggest getting a partner and tag-teaming that sh*t like New Age Outlaws in the ring, because your arm is going to get tired. I added in a very small amount of oil at a time and continued mixing for several minute until everything is incorporated. I used between 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil, or until you get your desired consistency. I wanted mine to be really thick so it would coat the lettuce. At the end I also added between 1-2 T of capers and salt and pepper and mixed well.
A total tanget about the capers, traditional caesar dressing calls for an anchovy or anchovy paste, neither of which I could find at the stores I went to. If you have these things, then by all means use them, I subbed capers for the briny-salty taste.
Back on track now, toss your chopped up grilled lettuce with the dressing, make a little halo with your salad toppings, leaving a big hole in the middle for a mini meat mountain. Once you add your chopped chicken, drizzle with the balsamic and top with chopped basil. A neat little basil chopping trick is to roll a bunch of leaves up like a little cigar and slice, that way you get pretty little ribbons of awesome.
Don’t think I forgot about the grilled lemon, I also squeezed that over top just before I started shoveling huge forkfuls of food into my mouth.