Food & dining

Seasonal Recipes

Recipe: A rehearsal dinner main course tops kale Caesar with grilled chicken

Kale Caesar salad with grilled chicken
Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe
Kale Caesar salad with grilled chicken

Serves 12

The main course for a rehearsal dinner should be simple, elegant, and a crowd-pleaser. This kale Caesar with grilled chicken meets all those requirements. There are a few steps to make the components from scratch — homemade croutons are infinitely better than storebought — but none are complicated and many can be prepped ahead. Make the dressing several days before and refrigerate it, but use it at room temperature. The croutons can also be toasted a day or two in advance and tossed in just before serving. Use kale for a variety of reasons, not just because it’s trendy and nutritious; it holds up well when dressed the day before you serve it. In fact, in order to soften the leaves, you actually massage the dressing into the greens and then refrigerate them until needed. Even the chicken can be grilled the night before, but served at room temperature (a deep chill deadens flavors). Double, triple, or quadruple these proportions or ask several cooking friends to bring a single batch. You can return the favor when it’s their time to host.

DRESSING

Juice of 6 lemons
3tablespoons Dijon mustard
tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
6anchovy fillets
6cloves garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste
cups olive oil

1. In a blender, combine the lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire, anchovies, garlic, salt, and pepper. Blend until the garlic is chopped.

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2. With the motor running, remove the insert in the cover. Slowly add the olive oil through the hole in the cover until it is all added. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

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CHICKEN

9skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 6 pounds)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

1. In a large bowl, sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup of the dressing with the oregano. Toss to coat all over. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.

2. Prepare a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Dip a small piece of folded paper towel in vegetable oil, and use tongs to brush the grill grates with it.

3. Place the chicken breasts on the grill and cook for 5 minutes, or until the chicken has grill marks. Turn and move to a cooler section of grill. Continue cooking on the other side for 15 to 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees. (Total cooking time is 20 to 25 minutes.) Transfer to a cutting board. Rest for 5 minutes and slice thinly.

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CROUTONS

5cups torn ½-inch pieces from a crusty loaf
3tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees.

2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss torn bread with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the bread evenly on the pan.

3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden and crunchy.

SALAD

3large bunches kale, stemmed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
cups coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
Black pepper, to taste

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1. Divide kale between 2 large bowls. Divide the remaining dressing between the bowls. With clean hands, massage the dressing into the kale, making sure to bruise the kale in the process. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.

2. Sprinkle both bowls with Parmesan, croutons, and black pepper. Toss well.

3. Divide the salad among 12 plates or 2 large platters. Top with sliced chicken.
Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Karoline Boehm Goodnick can be reached at kboehmgoodnick@gmail.com.