Today is probably one of the busiest days for all cooks out there. Just thinking about what kind of meat stresses me out. I take that back. Thinking of how many pounds of something I should be buying freaks me out. For the past few years of hosting July 4th at our house, I've made sure to always over order. You can always freeze your meats if you have some that were not used.
Besides making a whole grill filled of meats, I wanted to share with you a salad I've been making recently that will make all your guests say this was the memorable dish of the day. Not in a bad way. Everyone [most] loves meat. So having a great salad really; 1. throws people off guard and 2. makes people eat veggies.
Below you will find a recipe for 2 people. But in a party, keep in mind people will take less. So the recipe below can probably feed 4-5. I had about 15 people over so I made this x 3.
- 1 Leafy or Heart of Romaine.
- 2 thin cooked leftover chicken breast or Salmon filet (If you can get salmon, do it.)
- 1 fennel bulb (save the fennel fronds)
- 1 Can of corn drained.
- 4 pops of Hot & Sweet Cherry peppers from Trader Joes (tastes amazing, but optional if you don't have any)
- Your favorite Caesar dressing.
I've preheated my Breville to roast on 450 before starting. Trim of the top and bottom of the fennel before slicing. I've been super addicted to fennel lately. If you are sensitive to the flavor of anise, roasting it really tones it down a lot. Save the fronds, the top leafy things, and cut your fennel as shown. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and I love a generous amount of cracked black pepper. Roast for 20 minutes or until they turn a nice golden caramelized color. Feel free to flip if needed, really depends on how the oven is behaving.
With your romaine, trip off the ends if necessary, but I like to keep it intact. The lettuce is cut in half and drizzled lightly with olive oil before searing it on high. Let this go untouched for 1-2 minutes before moving. I top the charred romaine with a little fennel fronds to heat up the anise essence.
Drain out one can of corn.
Mixed all your ingredients in the bowl. The peppers are cut in 1/4's. Chicken is also diced. I've made this with salmon before which is what I prefer. But I had chicken leftover so that's what I used for this recipe. If you want to use salmon, I would cook it low and slow in your oven at around 275. Depending on size, I've got about 18 oz before and cooked that for 25 minutes then roasting on 450 for about 5 minutes to sear the bottom of the skin. Let it cool before flaking off the chunks (salmon can make more than 1 head of romaine depending on preference). Going back to the chicken, it is mixed with the corn, cherry peppers, and about a quarter cup of Caesar with a lot of cracked pepper. Mix!
Top your salad with the mixture, then lay your roasted fennel on top with the fronds as garnish.
Leave a side of caesar for people to add more if they want. I love my salads creamy, but I know that's not the healthiest... but enjoy and have a happy 4th!