Saturday, June 11, 2011

June 10: Tex-Mex Grilled Chicken Caesar

2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
   About 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
   Coarse salt
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless thin cut chicken breasts
5 garlic cloves, 1 cracked from skin, 4 cloves finely chopped
3 cups cubed sourdough bread (half a round loaf)
1 cup grated Parmesan, divided
3 anchovy fillets, drained, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 ripe avocado
   Zest and juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
   Coarse black pepper
2 large romaine lettuce hearts, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. and preheat a grill pan or outdoor grill on high.

In a shallow dish, combine 1 tablespoon of the chili powder, the cumin, 2 tablespoons of the EVOO, and some salt. Add the chicken cutlets and coat in the seasoning. Transfer the cutlets to the grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill and slice into very thin strips.

While the chicken is grilling, rub the inside of a salad bowl with the cracked clove of garlic. Set aside. Then, place the cubed bread in a clean bowl with the garlic clove and drizzle about 3 tablespoons of the EVOO and the remaining tablespoons of chili powder over the cubed bread. Toss with about 1/2 cup of the grated Parmesan and toss to coat thoroughly. Spread the croutons evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crisp and golden, 10 to 15 minutes.

To make the dressing, place the remaining 1/4 cup of EVOO in a small pan with the anchovies, red pepper flakes, and the finely chopped garlic. Stir together over very low heat until the anchovies melt. Remove from the heat and cool.

To prepare the avocado, cut all around the circumference of the ripe avocado, lengthwise and down to the pit. Twist and separate the halved fruit. Remove the pit with a spoon, then scoop the flesh out in one piece from both halves and cut into bite-size pieces.

In the bottom of the reserved salad bowl, combine the lime zest and juice, mustard, Worcestershire, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the cooled EVOO with anchovies and garlic.

Add the romaine to the bowl, followed by the croutons, avocado, and the remaining 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan.

Toss the salad to coat, adjust the salt and pepper, and pile the salad onto plates. Top with sliced chicken.


This salad would not have taken very long to make had I not sliced into my finger while I was trying to slice frozen bread. I had to take a little break there to whine and complain that I was going to die. It really wasn't that bad, but I hate it when my knife slices lengthwise really deep in there. Anyway, I finished making dinner after about an hour, and it was not too bad. I liked the chicken, I liked the bread, I liked the avocado, but the dressing was too sour for me. I didn't like it. It needed a little sweetness to balance it out. I don't know what I would have added; maybe just a spoonful of sugar. I made the recipe as is, except that I changed the Parmigiano to Parmesan. I made half the recipe tonight. I'm just trying to cut back a little this week.

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