Chicken Caesar Salad is one of those staple recipes that I’ve found, in one form or another, on restaurant menus around the world. According to legend, the dressing was originally made by an Italian chef who had immigrated to the United States but was working in Mexico to avoid prohibition in the 1920’s.
During a busy day at the restaurant was running low on ingredients. The quick thinking chef decided to put together a showy salad, himself, table-side to the delight of his guests. The classic creamy garlic-laden recipe was born. Anyone who figures out how to get more garlic in a recipe, no matter what the circumstances, is a hero in my book.
While traveling through Mexico we decided to give homage to the Caesar salad by adding in a few ingredients that are common to the area in which it was born. Our Mexican Spiced Chicken Caesar Dressing adds a hint of jalapeño pepper, a good dose of cilantro and another favorite Mexican ingredient, pepitas.
Pepitas are pumpkin (or squash) seeds which are often roasted, spiced and eaten as a snack, like peanuts. They add a subtle nutty flavor to the dressing along with a crunchy texture. If you can’t find them, substituting roasted walnuts or pinenuts will also work.
The dressing recipe can easily be used as a bread spread or salad dressing, but is also fantastic in the preparation we suggest – Mexican Spiced Chicken Caesar Salad Crostini.