Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Let's do the Twist!

Well, twist on a classic salad recipe that is. Everyone knows the Caesar salad. Courtesy of Wikipedia, a "true" Caesar salad:

A) was created for Julius Caesar.
B) always has some form of protein (i.e. grilled chicken or shrimp).
C) was created by Caesar Cardini, a Mexican man born in Italy.

(You can't tell I've got multiple choice tests on the brain, right? I finally finished my exams for the semester, and it's been rough getting out of the routine of reading like a mad person every night.) But I digress...

Feeling inspired by all of my new-found spare time, I decided to play with the idea of a caesar salad with chicken. I'm a rabid crouton eater, and could easily polish off a bag of sourdough croutons on my own, sans salad. Then a light bulb went on over my head- what about a chicken caesar salad meatball?!

Now, I have no idea if anyone else has ever done this, but I felt pretty pleased with how they turned out. And when Hubs inhales 5 of them, you know they must be pretty tasty, considering how picky he is.

As if the glowing review from Hubs wasn't enough, these came together super fast. Depending on the size you make your meatballs, you could have a relatively healthy dinner on the table in less than an hour! And if you shaped the meat into patties, you could slice them up and have a ground chicken strip caesar salad.

Besides... smashing the daylights out of the delicious little croutons is mighty cathartic when you're PMSing or had a rough day at work. Or if you just have an inner 15-year-old boy that likes to smash things (like me). :-D

Chicken Caesar Meatballs

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground chicken
1 1/3 c. sourdough croutons, smashed up finely (you can whiz them in a food processor if you really want a fine crumb, but larger chunks give a better crunch)-- reserve 1 c. for coating
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 green onions, chopped (white & green parts)- will roughly be 1/8 c.?
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt (you don't need much- the croutons and the Parm are plenty salty)
1/4 tsp. pepper
Cooking spray

1. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil, and spray the tin foil lightly with the cooking spray.
2. Mix ground chicken, the 1/3 c. of crushed croutons, Parmesan, onions, olive oil, salt and pepper. Don't overmix, but mix thoroughly.
3. Roll slightly less than 1/4 c. of meat mixture into ball shapes. Roll meatballs in the reserved 1 c. of croutons. Place on greased cookie sheet. Drizzle with tiny bit of olive oil (optional).
4. Bake for 15-18 minutes, then flip meatballs. Bake for another 15-18 minutes.
5. While the meatballs are baking, clean and prep your Romaine lettuce and Parmesan cheese. (If you're like me, you have a bottle of Caesar salad dressing in your fridge at all times. No worries if you want to make your own!)
6. Remove meatballs from oven. Let them cool for at least 6-8 minutes before placing on top of the lettuce.
7. Enjoy!

This made roughly 12 meatballs for me (one was slightly smaller than the rest, but I'm sure you could get much more precise, even meatballs if you were to weigh each one).

Maybe I won't post the answer to my little quiz just yet. I want to know what everyone else thinks! Add a comment with what you think the answer is. :)


Anonymous said...

Looks good Tia!
Hopefully you can bring some samples to the lab some day :)


Megan said...

Chicken caesar salad is one of my favorite dishes-I seem to order it EVERYWHERE. Now I think I'll start making these at home a lot more. Wonderful idea!

gaga said...

Mmmm, what a wonderful idea. It looks delicious!

Laurel said...

I tried these tonight (leaving out the parmesan as we're dairy-free due to an allergy) and they were wonderful! Thank you!

Alexandra de Roumanie said...

I made this tonight. The meatballs turned out wonderful. (Except next time I'll have to remember to use less oil for less meat haha.) I also added two bigger garlic cloves and sprinkled some parsley. It was a delicious and a recipe I'll definitely keep.

I also have a feeling the meatballs would be great in other dishes. Oh the possibilities!