Parmesan Chicken with Caesar Roasted Romaine

What I learned in making this dish is that you should not go to Walmart at 10 pm on a Sunday, after the entire town has done their weekend grocery run, and expect them to have chicken breasts.

I had one recipe in mind and one shopping list in hand. Chicken breasts aren’t exactly something I’d expect a store to be out of, so I didn’t have a backup plan. I grabbed the very last package of chicken tenders and decided I could make it work. Guess what? It was still great!

Walmart is an interesting place. I never really knew how glorious or how tragic Walmart really could be until I moved to the South. Walmart isn’t really a big thing in the Northeast. Sure, there was one in my home town growing up. But no one ever went there. It certainly didn’t have a supermarket in it. And if you were ever caught wearing clothes from there? Well, you might as well never show your face again. Walmart always had a certain stigma attached to it. That is, until I moved to the South. In the South, people LIVE for Walmart. And that’s where I discovered that Walmart can be a really great convenience. Or it can be the bane of my existence.

In all the places I have lived in the past few years, I have discovered something about Wally. There are good Wally’s and there are bad Wally’s. In Daytona Beach, there were two Walmart’s. The good, clean, Walmart, where you could happily do all of your one stop shopping amidst a sea of smiling faces, check out somewhat quickly, and make it home alive. Then there was the bad Walmart, where you didn’t dare step foot after dark. Of course, the bad Walmart was the only Walmart open 24 hours, so when you realized that you needed beer at 11 pm, you had to decide between risking your life and fulfilling your thirst. If you decided to risk it, you’d surely want to go armed. Thank you, lax Florida gun control.

In Pensacola, there were about 50 Walmart’s. That’s only a slight exaggeration. But closest to our house, there were two, and sure enough one was the good Wally and one was the bad Wally. Since we were only in Pensacola 4 months, we decided to save money and live in the ghetto. Not surprisingly, we were pretty dang close to the bad Wally.

Forget about Enid. Enid was lucky to have ONE Walmart. Since Enid is a wasteland where no one would ever want to live, there isn’t really any crime there (probably due to lack of a population). So Enid’s Walmart was overcrowded (the only store in the whole town), but otherwise okay. Let’s never speak of Enid again.

That brings us to Meridian, Mississippi. Once again, the phenomenon repeats itself. We have a good Wally and a bad Wally. The sad part here being that the bad Wally is much more conveniently located, and therefore I ended up there, where of course I was disappointed and frustrated because there were no chicken breasts to be found. At least I made it out alive.

Anyhow, as I said, it didn’t make a difference because the last package of chicken tenders I was able to scrounge up worked just fine.

I’ve heard of roasted and grilled romaine before, and seen it on menus, but I’ve never had it. This recipe sounded delicious (I love real Caesar dressing with LOTS of anchovies!), so I figured it was the perfect time to try it out! Not only was it really good, it was also surprisingly easy, and had very little clean-up. Win!

Parmesan Chicken with Caesar Roasted Romaine

(adapted from Bon Appetit)

serves 4

  • 1 lb chicken tenderloins
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 2 large hearts of romaine, halved lengthwise
  • 4 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained, chopped
  • 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place on a nonstick baking sheet. Combine cheese, panko, 2 tbsp oil, parsley, and 1 garlic clove in a medium bowl, and season with salt and pepper.

Pat panko mixture onto chicken.

Roast chicken until crumbs begin to turn golden, about 10 minutes.

Drizzle romaine with 1 tbsp oil and sprinkle with remaining 1 chopped garlic clove. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove baking sheet from oven and place romaine around chicken. Roast until chicken is cooked through and lettuce is browned at edges, about 5 minutes.

To serve, top lettuce with anchovies and squeeze a lemon wedge over top!

The flavors in this were AMAZING. For how simple the ingredient list is, I wasn’t sure how it would be, but the Parmesan, garlic, anchovies and lemon all came together perfectly!

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