You’ll regularly find chicken Caesar salads, but that doesn’t mean you’ll find them all done well. Common flaws include too much dressing and clunky pieces of chicken.
Here’s how I have approached the dish: A roasted-garlic marinade flavors chicken cutlets that are then grilled and cut into bite-size pieces. Chopped garlic and fresh oregano mix with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (the good stuff) to make a multidimensional dressing. Diced hard-cooked egg is sprinkled over the salad. And shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano finishes it with a flourish.
Garlic-Oregano Chicken Caesar Salad
Make ahead: The chicken needs to marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
For the chicken:
4 large cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound thinly sliced chicken breast cutlets
For the dressing
2 tablespoons finely chopped oregano
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
For the salad:
About 12 ounces romaine lettuce, trimmed, cleaned and torn or cut into bite-size pieces
2 hard-cooked eggs, cut into 1/4 -inch dice
One 2-ounce chunk Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
For the chicken: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the garlic cloves on a 10- or 12-inch square of aluminum foil. Drizzle 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil over the cloves. Form a loose packet around them, folding the foil over to seal the packet. Place the packet in a small baking dish; bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the garlic is soft. Unwrap and let cool for 10 minutes.
Transfer the cloves to a cutting board; use a large knife to chop/mash them, then transfer to a small bowl. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil, along with the chopped oregano, vinegar, salt and pepper, stirring to combine.
Lay the chicken out on a plate. Brush the oil-garlic mixture over both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
When ready to cook, preheat the grill, broiler, nonstick grill pan or griddle. Working in batches as needed, cook the cutlets for 3 to 4 minutes, until they are nicely browned on the first side. Turn them over and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on the second side, until the chicken is cooked through and nicely browned. Transfer to a large plate. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes.
While the chicken rests, make the dressing: Whisk together the oregano, grated cheese, chopped garlic, vinegar and sugar in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper to taste. Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking.
For the salad: Divide the lettuce evenly among individual plates, creating an even layer for each portion. Cut the chicken into 1/2 -inch pieces and distribute over the lettuce. Sprinkle the diced egg evenly over the salads. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the Parmigiano-Reggiano directly over each salad. Drizzle each with an equal portion of the dressing. (Alternatively, place the lettuce in a large bowl and drizzle with half of the dressing, tossing to coat the lettuce lightly. Divide among individual plates and top with the chicken, egg and shaved cheese, then drizzle with the remaining dressing.)
Serve right away. Makes 4 servings.