Monday, June 16, 2008

Great Caesar's Ghost!

True story: I know the guy who claims to have invented the practice of serving Caesar salad with grilled chicken on top of it. Yeah, that very '80s dish, which became ubiquitous at all mid-scale restaurants, and sometimes the chicken morphed into blackened redfish or strips of steak. You remember it; you know you do.
My friend ran a restaurant very close to two of San Francisco's daily newspapers way back when. The kind of place where more drinking happened than eating, but every once in a while, a reporter's got to shove some nutrients down the craw. I don't know how or why my friend developed this recipe (or if it's even true he was the original creator of it).
But that's his claim to fame, and knowing him is mine.
Fast forward to present times. My friend lives in the same county that I do, and I run into him every so often. The part of the county I live in is hokey. Cornball. Lowbrow. (He lives in a nicer neighborhood and he eats at nice restaurants.) My neighborhood has a neighborhood Chili's, and I've been known to snag a plate of nachos and a pint of beer there. Not long ago, Chili's introduced a Caesar salad topped with chili-lime shrimp. I tried it.
Ohgah. Good. Embarrassing to say, but good. Tasty... if you can stand the idea of a salad draped with animal protein, which is actually a little weird. Sorry to say, old friend. Weird. But good.
Turns out you can make this dish at home.
Just make it up; I did. (So did my friend, apparently, although he used chicken.)
The one thing you have to do is cook the croutons in the chili-lime-seasoned oil you used for sauteeing the shrimp.
Otherwise, just wing it. (But not with chicken wings.)


Zoomie said...

Did you save the shrimp tails for later broth-making?

Chilebrown said...

Yer title was from Perry White Editor-in Chief from the Metropolis. Did you ever work at the Metro. Did you know Clark. Did he like chili lime shrimp?
Ms.Goofy and I are on vacation. We are thinkin about the Thursday markert. I bet they have corn. There is a vendor that has the killer Hot Sause. Are you game?

dancingmorganmouse said...

Yum, did you throw those chilli-lime shrimp on the barbie?

Anna Haight said...

Chili's is embarassingly good for sure.

Nikki Miller-Ka said...

I've been known to get some nachos and a beer at Chili's, too. Or Ruby Tuesday. Applebee's (the Weight Watcher Menu is more my speed). Chili-lime shrimp. Love it 100% :)

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: Yes! The tails were part of the shrimp-shell/pea-pod broth. No wasteage here, no sir.

Chilebrown: Zee-zee-zee! My two-way wrist-radio says you are correct.
See you Thursday.

Morgan: Only you, my Sydney friend, can say that. And no, they were sauteed in a pan. :D

Anna: Blush. We share a guilty pleasure.

Nikki: Thank you for elevating the conversation here. You notice how FEW commenters I've had on this post? I should be ashamed, and luv to you. xx

Chilebrown said...

I was looking at your profile and you claimed to be a Tomatoe Rancher. Do you harness Beansprout and till your field?

kudzu said...

Dear Lois --
I usually am a purist when it comes to Caesars, but I think the chili-lime-shrimp adds might work for me!

Stacie said...

damn I thought I invented that! high calorie salads with meat rule the salad eating universe!

Era said...

Ohgah, you crack me up! I thought about you this weekend when I went to a goat roast! I thought you might have liked it (I ate liver, heart, "sweetmeats", aaaaaaaaand rocky mountain oysters [only a tiny bit])

cookiecrumb said...

ChileBrown: Bean Sprout is the barnyard dog, not an ox. Hell, the flapping of a crow's wings could practically knock him over.

Kudzu: That's an admirable statement from you; I think of you as so very tasteful. (Shrimp: Whole Foods, like you suggested.)
Jimmy Olsen.

Stacie: You DID invent it if you think you did! Yay.

Era: Wow! I'm impressed by your nibblings (and a little jealous).

Steph said...

Goodness, I don't know what I would do in a world devoid of salads draped in animal protein.
I love that your friend invented the chicken Caesar. I have this bizarre habit of buying one to eat on every airplane I board. I rarely order them to eat on the ground, but I want a chicken Caesar in the air. Hey, I never proclaimed normalcy!

cookiecrumb said...

Steph: Bless you, you're the only one to comment on my friendship with the "inventor."
And I say, go with your gut. (It *is* pretty good, airborne or not.)