I am embarrassingly obsessed with Bethenny Frankel.  In the first season of her show “Bethenny Getting Married,” I totally cried when I watched her wedding (the first and second time). I am thanking the iTunes gods for providing a season pass for just $9.99, since we don’t have cable.  The return of her show has made for a great start to the week. I’m giddy over the fact that I’ll have something to look forward to on Tuesdays now.  Just me, some wine, and Bethenny [sigh].

Despite the resurgence of Bethenny in my life, the start of this week has been pretty lovely overall.  I started a new book, which I absolutely cannot put down, fun dinner plans have been made for later in the week, and my meals have consisted largely of this great Caesar Salad.  Caesar salad can have such punchy flavor when done right.  I’m a huge fan of Deb’s recipe since it couldn’t be farther from your typical Caesar- a mountain of flavorless Romain buried under a gloppy mess of ranch like dressing and stale croutons.  Ok maybe it’s not that bad, but seriously, if you haven’t made a Caesar salad from scratch it’s well worth doing.  I guarantee it will bring great enjoyment to your week.

Punchy Caesar Salad adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Serves 4

2 small heads or 1 1/2 large heads romaine lettuce, washed and torn into pieces

1 lb chicken boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/3 french baguette, cut in thin slices

1/2 cup shaved parmigiano reggiano

1 T dried oregono

4 T mayonnaise

2  T fresh lemon juice

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 small garlic cloved grated (or mashed)

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp anchovy paste

1/3 plus 2 T extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Take bread, drizzle with olive and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Bake for ten minutes, until bread is lightly brown and crispy.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Whisk together all ingredients from the mayo through the anchovy paste.  Once combined, whisk in the olive oil, stirring continuously.  Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Coat a grill pan with 2 T olive oil, and set to medium- heat for 4-5 minutes.  Meanwhile,  sprinkle one side of chicken liberally with salt and pepper, and half the oregano.  Splash a few droplets of water on the pan.  When the water sizzles, the pan is ready.  Place the chicken seasoned side down.  Do not move once in pan until ready to flip.  Season other side of chicken with salt, pepper, and remaining oregano, while in pan.  Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side. When cooked set aside to rest.

The assembly- place the lettuce in a large bowl.  Take baguette toasts and break into big pieces over lettuce.  Toss in half the grated parm.  Once cooled slightly, slice chicken and place in bowl.  Pour 3/4 of dressing over salad and toss well. Add more dressing if salad appears dry.  Top with remaing parm, and several grinds of black pepper.  Serve immediately.

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