Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons is a combination of two of the best ideas any chef ever had: Caesar salad and blackening!
Anyone who is passionate about cooking or is in the culinary field would love to create a dish that goes down in history as a classic. The Caesar salad and the blackening method of cooking are two such great ideas that have become culinary mainstays. Together they become Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons–a dinner salad you’re going to love.
Origin of the Caesar Salad:
The Caesar salad is said to have been created by restaurateur Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant. Legend has it that a Fourth of July holiday rush at his restaurant depleted the kitchen supplies. Cardini made do with what he had, served his new creation tableside with aplomb and the rest is history.
Origin of Blackening Spice:
Chef Paul Prudhomme is credited with creating “blackening,” a cooking method he developed in the 1980’s that remains hugely popular today.
Basically, a blend of herbs and spices is rubbed onto fish, meat or poultry which is then quickly seared at a high temperature. Commercial blends are available, however, they can be high in salt with other additives. I prefer to blend my own so I can control the salt.
Now onto one of my favorite salads–Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons!
How to make Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons:
- Before coating the chicken in this fabulous spice combination, marinate it first in store-bought Italian salad dressing. I don’t tend to use many prepared foods in my cooking, however, when something works and makes life a little easier, I’m all for it. Because it’s discarded anyway, your time is better spent on the spice rub, croutons and dressing.
- After placing the chicken in the marinade, make the spice rub. Make lots of the spice rub because you’re going to love it. Two kinds of paprika (smoked and sweet), garlic powder, onion powder, two kinds of pepper (black and cayenne), dry mustard, thyme, oregano and just the right amount of salt all rock together!
- For the croutons, I used mini sourdough baguettes and loved the delightful tanginess! However, use any crusty bread you have on hand. There’s no need to cut into neat cubes, just tear the baguettes apart into [somewhat] uniform pieces. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder and bake until they’re crispy golden goodness!
- When blackening the chicken, high heat is important–at first. You can do the blackening in a cast iron skillet (which is typically how it’s done) or on the grill. I prefer a grill pan rather than a cast iron skillet because more of the spice rub stays on the chicken.
- If using an outdoor grill, hit it with high heat at first, then move it off to the side to finish cooking on indirect heat. Blackened chicken good–burned chicken bad. If doing inside, do the same thing (high heat at first) then transfer to your oven to finish cooking.
Now, you may wonder where the egg is in my Caesar dressing. As a personal chef, my first concern is always the safety of my clients. My client’s kids are the biggest fans of my Caesar dressing so I want it to be as safe as possible. Therefore, I substitute mayonnaise which provides the richness without the safety concerns of raw egg.
Taa-daa! Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad ready for any occasion!
Helpful tools and equipment to make Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons (Affiliate Links):
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
- 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
- oil for grill or grill pan
- BLACKENING MIX
- 4 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil (not extra virgin or too strongly flavored)
- 1 large lemon, juiced (approximately 1/4 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 mini sourdough baguettes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 large head Romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- CHICKEN: Place chicken in a zipper-top bag. Add salad dressing. Marinate 4-8 hours in the refrigerator.
- BLACKENING MIX: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
- DRESSING: Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Adjust seasoning to taste. Refrigerator until needed.
- CROUTONS: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Tear baguettes into approximately 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces. Place on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the bread, sprinkle with garlic powder and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Toss well to coat. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until dry and crisp. Let cool. Keep oven at 375 degrees.
- COOK CHICKEN: Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade. Blot chicken dry on a paper towel.
- Coat chicken well on both sides with blackening mix.
- Brush grill pan with oil. Place chicken on pan, reduce heat to medium and cook 4-5 minutes per side or until spices are dark and caramelized, being careful not to burn them.
- Transfer to a baking sheet and finish cooking to 165 degrees in the center. Let cool.
- TO SERVE: Toss Romaine lettuce with dressing. Place on chilled plates. Top with croutons, cheese and chicken. Drizzle more dressing over the chicken.
The chicken may also be cooked on an outdoor grill. After charring the chicken, remove it from direct flame and finish cooking on indirect heat.
Amount Per Serving Calories 1149 Total Fat 73g Saturated Fat 13g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 56g Cholesterol 91mg Sodium 2174mg Carbohydrates 81g Fiber 9g Sugar 12g Protein 45g