As a teenager, I went through a phase during which I absolutely adored chicken caesar salad. My mom can attest to this fact, as more often than not I would order this meal when we went out for our special mother/daughter lunches. Chicken caesar salad can differ slightly from restaurant to restaurant, but one aspect remains nearly constant: the lettuce is usually saturated with a rich, creamy, and let’s face it, highly fattening & caloric dressing. When my interest in eating healthfully started to kick into high gear, I developed a preference for ordering salads with lighter vinaigrettes – usually on the side – when dining out.
Although I still prefer vinaigrettes to creamy dressings, every once in a while I have a hankering for caesar salad. Instead of ordering my old favorite at a restaurant, I’ve concocted a lighter homemade version. I replaced the typical hefty amount of olive oil with a bit of 2% Greek yogurt, significantly cut down on the Parmesan cheese, and completely eliminated the eggs. What I kept was pure flavor: anchovy paste, garlic, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and a touch of Worcestershire sauce. The resulting blended dressing is creamy and flavorful – a tasty, healthy update on a classic.
Instead of stopping the modifications at a lighter dressing, I decided to pair the salad with a different protein. Salmon immediately came to mind, as it’s flavor is robust enough to stand up to the caesar dressing.
I bet I would still enjoy a decadent restaurant-prepared chicken caesar salad, but I’m glad to have my own modified version that I can make whenever the craving strikes.
Salmon Caesar Salad
Ingredients for the salmon:
- 2 (4-6 oz) fillets wild Alaskan salmon
- Kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
Ingredients for the salad:
- 2 small cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp anchovy paste
- 2 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt (fat-free or 2%)
- 1/2 tsp Dijon OR stoneground mustard
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 cups chopped or torn romaine lettuce
- a few shavings of fresh parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Pat the salmon dry, (any moisture on the fish will keep it from searing properly), and season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Heat a bit of extra virgin olive oil in an oven-proof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salmon flesh (non-skin) side down to the hot skillet and cook, undisturbed, for 2 minutes, or until crisp.
- Flip salmon over so the skin side is down and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast the salmon for 4 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Peel off the skin.
- While salmon cooks, blend together all salad ingredients – except for lettuce and parmesan – in a blender until creamy. Toss lettuce with Caesar dressing. Serve salad topped with cooked salmon and freshly shaved parmesan cheese.