Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Quick & Easy Peri-Peri Chicken Caesar Salad

This is my quick-n-easy adaptation of a deliciously spicy recipe created by the makers of Nando's Peri-Peri Sauces. The original has you make the croutons and Caesar dressing from scratch, which might not feasible when you're pressed for time or don't have all the ingredients handy. My version lets you use your favorite store-bought Caesar dressing and croutons, for a much simpler and faster meal. You can marinate the chicken that morning or overnight, or just start marinating in your refrigerator when you begin assembling and preparing the rest of the ingredients. This recipe serves 4 as main-course salads.

1 bottle of Nando's Hot Peri-Peri Marinade
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each sliced into 3 thick strips
2 Romaine lettuces
A bottle of your favorite Caesar dressing
Crunchy croutons (plain or garlic work best)
Parmesan shavings or grated Parmesan as garnish
Freshly ground black pepper as garnish

Place the chicken strips into a large resealable plastic bag, pour in enough of the Peri-Peri Marinade to cover the chicken, then seal and shake the bag to coat the chicken, and place the bag in the refrigerator to marinate. You can do this as far in advance as the night before you plan on making the salads.

Wash the lettuce and shake off excess water (I use a salad spinner or pat the leaves dry with absorbent paper towels). Trim the ends and any tough ribs, and then chop width-wise into strips approximately 1/2 to 1 inch wide. Place the lettuce in a large bowl and set aside until ready to assemble (if more than a few minutes, I place the bowl in my fridge).

Remove chicken from bag and discard the bag with the used marinade. Cook either in a saute pan, under the broiler, or on your grill, using fresh marinade from the bottle to baste while cooking. When chicken is thoroughly cooked, remove from heat and take out the bowl of lettuce. Pour some Caesar dressing over the lettuce and add some of the croutons, and toss to coat the lettuce with dressing. Divide among 4 large plates or pasta bowls, top each with hot chicken and remaining croutons, and garnish with Parmesan cheese and black pepper to taste.

Zestfully yours,

PS: For a less fiery-hot but still very flavorful alternative, use Nando's Peri-Peri BBQ Marinade instead of the Hot Marinade.

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