Sophisticated Caesar Salad
When I want Caesar salad I think of a crunchy, satisfying dish, but sometimes it’s just old romaine lettuce and bottled dressing. This version is fresh and full of flavor and includes some of my mom’s favorite ingredients – it is Mother’s Day after all! You can add in your favorite (or your mom’s favorite) vegetables to make it your own.
With Parmesan crisps instead of croutons and roasted chicken this salad is a great lunch and special enough to serve for an occasion. You can make some of the components like the dressing and the crisps ahead of time, and like a regular Caesar salad it can be served room temperature or warm.
- For the chicken combine 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese with panko bread crumbs, freshly cracked black pepper, freshly chopped parsley, fresh thyme and lemon zest. Pat the mixture all over the chicken breasts and bake them at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes. If you use chicken tenders it will take closer to 15 minutes.
- Chop a head of fennel into wedges and top it with the remaining parmesan, bread crumb and herb seasoning. Bake the fennel for about 10 minutes.
- Parmesan crisps are just little piles of grated parmesan cheese baked on a nonstick silicon pad or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Use about 1/2 cup of Parmesan for the crisps. Bake the crisps in the oven along side the chicken and the fennel for 10 minutes.
- Chop up the lettuces – I used the traditional romaine lettuce as well as some endive for added crunch and flavor.
- Make the dressing by placing mustard in a bowl and slowly drizzling in olive oil as you whisk them together. The mustard, oil mix should have a thick consistency. Add in lemon juice, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and a little parmesan. If you’d like add a crushed clove of garlic or two to pack in extra flavor but since my mom is not a garlic fan I’m staying away from it.
- Assemble the salad by layering the endive leaves, followed by the chopped romaine lettuce. Top with your chicken, fennel, dressing and lastly the parmesan crisps. Bon Appetit!