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Sesame Caesar with Za’atar Rub Grilled Chicken

Serves 4

Middle Eastern flavors spice up this chicken Caesar salad.


For the spice rub:

  • 1 tablespoon ground sumac or paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (1/3 palmful)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or ground red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasst, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness

For the chicken:

  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling
  • Sea salt and pepper

For the dressing and salad:

  • 1 large clove garlic, grated or pasted plus 1 clove split to rub salad bowl
  • 3 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 organic egg yolk (optional)
  • Juice of 1 large, ripe lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 rounded teaspoon anchovy paste
  • Coarse black pepper, to taste
  • About 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • About 1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese (optional) – omit for Kosher
  • 7-8 cups Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Lightly crushed garlic pita chips, such as Stacy’s brand, or homemade or store-bought garlic croutons


  1. Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Dress the chicken with the EVOO, salt and pepper; coat the chicken all over with the rub and cover. Let stand for 1 hour.
  2. Cook the chicken in a hot cast iron pan or outdoor grill over medium-high heat.
  3. Rub the inside of the salad bowl with the split garlic clove. In the salad bowl, whisk the tahini with water to loosen, then add the egg yolk, if using, the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, anchovy paste, pepper, EVOO and cheese, if using.
  4. Add the lettuce to the bowl and toss to combine. Add the pita chips or croutons and top with sliced grilled chicken.