Buffalo Chicken Caesar Salad

A few hours before dinner I though I was going to make this classic Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad. I considered using the quasi-sous vide method, but after re-reading that post I simply broiled the chicken in my oven until browned (and the internal temperature reached 165-degrees).  But at the last-minute I had a craving for something spicy, so I slathered the chicken breasts in buffalo sauce. The result was good, but the regular Caesar Salad faded in the face of the extreme boldness of the buffalo sauce. Next time I will add 1/4-cup of the buffalo sauce to the salad dressing. My stomach gives this recipe a solid 4-stars; but my head must override and give 3-1/2 stars. Delicious, but there is room for improvement; not well-balanced.

Last minute change satisfied my craving for something spicy

Comments:

  1. The Parmesan cheese is somewhat wasted here, because it is so overpowered by the buffalo sauce. I’d recommend saving the $2 and omitting it. In my case, though, I gave my older, finicky son just plain Chicken Caesar Salad. For him the Parmesan was critical.
  2. In the past, I have tried grilling my buffalo chicken, and I see on the internet that some people like the combination. But I personally find the two flavors, the smokiness from the grill and spiciness of the sauce; do not compliment each other. This is why I opted for broiling the chicken.
  3. My boneless, skinless chicken breast were on a super sale; only $1/lb. The recipe would have cost $9 had I paid the regular sale price of $2/lb.

Rating: 3-1/2 stars.
Cost: $7.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 4:30 PM. Ready at 6:00 PM.

Here is the Cook’s Illustrated link to the Caesar Salad Recipe. Chris Kimball’s original Buffalo recipe is here.  My descriptions of how I prepare it today are given below:

Buffalo Chicken Breasts:
4-lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Frank’s Louisiana Hot Sauce
1 tablespoon Tabasco
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoon Worcester sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  1. Set an oven rack to high position in your oven and pre-heat the broiler on high. Trim any excess fat away from chicken breasts. Set a wire rack over a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet.
  2. With 5 minutes remaining until chicken is ready to serve, begin to make the sauce. Melt the butter in 12” regular (i.e. not non-stick) skillet over a medium low burner, whisk in the Frank’s sauce, Tabasco, brown sugar, Worcester, cayenne and cider vinegar. Mix well and allow to cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Reserve 1/4 cup of sauce incorporate into dressing, and to ensure that your chicken isn’t too spicy.
  4. Flip your chicken after first side has browned. Remove the chicken from the broiler when the internal temperature has reached 160-to-165-degrees.
  5. Loosely tent with aluminum foil until ready to serve.

Caesar Salad:
1 large clove garlic
3 tablespoons Lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
6 anchovy fillets
2 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons canola oil
5 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2-1/2 romaine hearts

  1. Rip the romaine into 3/4″ pieces; then rinse and dry in a salad spinner.
  2. Peel garlic cloves. Press directly into a large bowl, and add lemon juice and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, minced the anchovies and use a fork to mash to form a paste. Grate the Parmesan cheese and set aside.
  4. Add Worcestershire sauce, minced anchovies, and 2 egg yolks into garlic/lemon juice mixture. Whisk until it is combined.
  5. While whisking constantly, slowly pour the canola oil and olive oil into the bowl. Whisk until the dressing has become fully emulsified. Finally, whisk in 1/2-cup grated Parmesan cheese and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  6. Add romaine lettuce to bowl and toss until the dressing is evenly coating the lettuce. Add croutons and gently mix gently.
  7. Slice the chicken crosswise into 1/2″-thick slices, put sliced breast into skillet containing the Buffalo sauce. Move and flip to cover in sauce.
  8. Serve salad immediately on individual plates or bowls, then add one chicken breast on top of each salad.
  9. Pass the remaining Parmesan cheese separately.
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