Thursday, June 9, 2011

Salad on the Grill....Say What?

Now that the weather is finally doing what I want it to…..I guess I have to seriously start considering bathing suit season.  Boo.  While it is super necessary for me to shed my winter coat….I just really hate the process.  I decided to ease into this year by starting with something that has a healthy sounding name, but really isn’t all that healthy.  You know….the “salad” that really has no skinny components except for a bit of lettuce?  I will trick my body into thinking it is on a diet.  That should work, right?

Now I am not one of those people that feels that something must be diet food if it has the word “salad” in it.  I am not fooled by a Taco Salad or a Cobb Salad.  I know those are just as bad for me as a cheeseburger.  But like I said, I have to ease into it…..I can’t go from eating fried chicken straight to eating steamed chicken.  So I created a recipe for a grilled chicken Caesar salad.  And by grilled, I don’t just mean the chicken.  I mean the whole damn thing.  And yes, the only skinny part is the lettuce….and the grilled chicken too, I guess.  But never fear….I will suck the skinny right out of it with dressing and cheese….and amazing croutons.
Have you ever grilled your salad?  I know it sounds weird, but you actually can, and should in my opinion, grill your romaine.  It gives it a smoky taste that is so good!  And it is kind of all the rage right now too.  Being that I am always “in the know”, I have to grill my romaine too.  You can feel the sarcasm in that, right?   I am also grilling the croutons.  Yum.  And the best part is no mess in your kitchen.
I will show you all that you need for this fabulous salad.  Warning:  You need Gourmet Rooster Carolina Style BBQ Sauce. 
For this salad, I used romaine hearts because I need it to hold together on the grill.  A bag of salad will obviously not work.  I also used garlic olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Gourmet Rooster Carolina Style BBS sauce, egg (I used egg beaters to prevent a horrific case of salmonella in my family), asiago cheese, and salt and pepper.  Not in this picture is the chicken or baguette that will be used later.
I start by cooking the chicken on the grill because that will take the longest.  I marinated my chicken breasts in Gourmet Rooster Carolina Style BBQ Sauce, which is a mustard based sauce.  You can sub in Dijon, but it won’t be the same;)
You probably are noticing that I also have my croutons on the grill.  I sliced a baguette in about ½ inch slices.  I brushed both sides with garlic olive oil and sprinkled them with salt and pepper.  These will grill super-fast!  If they are on direct heat, they will get brown and toasty in under a minute.  You have to be on it….don’t walk away!
Then, you need to get the romaine hearts on the grill.  I sliced them in half, lengthwise.  You can’t tell in this picture, but I brushed them with garlic olive oil and then sprinkled salt and pepper all over. 
Yes that baking sheet is gross.  I am well aware of that.  But it is old, and I like it.  I am not a quitter, and I won’t quit on that baking sheet.  You hear me?  I won’t quit!
These will cook on the grill for about 3 to 4 minutes each side.  Just enough to get a slight char on them and wilt the leaves a bit.  This goes fast.

While the lettuce grilled, I made the dressing.  In my Magic Bullet is enough egg beaters to equal one egg, garlic olive oil, a clove of garlic, lemon juice, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper.  Normally a Caesar dressing would contain anchovies but my husband is adamant that I not use them.  I would have just thrown them in, as you can’t taste them, but he was watching.  Anchovies add a nutty taste, not a fishy taste.  But Chris is not so adventurous. 
I blended the ingredients in my Magic Bullet, but you could use a blender.  You could whisk the ingredients together, but that would require mincing the garlic….and I wasn’t feelin’ that.
Keep reading for the proportions….I will provide that at the bottom.

By now your lettuce should be done.  Remember, you have to flip it!  Once you pull it off the grill, smother it with asiago cheese.  Or parmesan…maybe Romano….take your pick.  I love asiago.  The cheese will melt onto the lettuce.  Mmmmmmmmm.
The final step is to assemble your salad. 
I plated one half of a romaine heart smothered in cheese with a few croutons.  Then, I poured dressing all over it.  I also plated one chicken breast.  You could also cover the chicken in the dressing.  Chris did, I did not.  Bathing suit season, dude!
See how toasty and delicious the croutons got?  They will break up in your salad and give the salad great crunchiness.
Another view…..
And a picture of the chicken….
Normally I am not a fan of a grilled chicken breast.  I think they are boring.  But when the chicken marinates all day in Gourmet Rooster sauce….I can get on board.
I sincerely hope that you try grilling your salad.  It is so different and unexpected.  It will take your salad to a new level.  A chicken Caesar salad can get so boring, but not when it is grilled!  And like I said above….the best part is no mess in your kitchen!
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
One bag of romaine hearts
One baguette
1 pound chicken breasts
1 cup asiago cheese, grated
Garlic olive oil for brushing on lettuce and bread
Salt and pepper
6 ounces Gourmet Rooster Carolina Style BBQ Sauce
BBQ Caesar Dressing (recipe below)
Marinate chicken breasts in BBQ sauce, at least 8 hours.
Slice baguette into ½ inch slices.  Brush with garlic olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place on grill over indirect heat.  Grill until brown and toasty on both sides.
Grill chicken over direct heat for about 3 minutes each side.  Then, move to indirect heat, cover and cook another 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Remove from grill and tent under foil to keep chicken warm.
Slice romaine hearts in half, lengthwise.  Brush with garlic olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill, over direct heat, for about 3 minutes per side, or until lettuce is slightly charred.  Remove from grill and cover in cheese.
Place lettuce, croutons and chicken on a plate, pour dressing over top.
BBQ Caesar Dressing
1 clove garlic
¼ cup egg beaters or other egg substitute
¼ cup Gourmet Rooster Carolina Style BBQ Sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ lemon juice
½ cup garlic olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

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