Salad with Baked Chicken Katsu and Caesar Sauce

Happy New Year! It’s been such a long time… I hope you are all doing well and haven’t completely forgotten about me! Have you also made new year’s resolutions? This time, apart from the usual ones (eating healthier, being more disciplined, organised, etc..), my most important one was to be more creative in my kitchen (especially compared to the few last months when I literally cooked nothing new) and, also, start blogging again. I could bore you with a long list of reasons explaining my long absence, not only here, but also from my dear friends’ blogs, and I’d like to apologise especially for the latter, but I can sum it up saying I totally lacked motivation, enthusiasm and inspiration. In the meantime I have been terribly missing all my blogging friends, my dear visitors and of course posting on my blog too and hope this very first simple recipe marks the end of this gloomy period.

Before I mention the above salad, let’s start with chicken katsu or rather tonkatsu. Tonkatsu (トンカツ) is one of my favourite Japanese dishes (if not the most favourite!), it’s (and I don’t exaggerate!) the first and the last thing I eat during my yearly holidays in Japan. Presenting it as “breaded pork cutlet” obviously doesn’t do it justice. The Japanese version is so much more than the European schnitzel or kotlet schabowy. First of all tonkatsu is deep-fried (which makes it less fatty than the Western shallow-frying, though of course still not a diet food!). Japanese dry panko crumbs, used instead of standard breadcrumbs, yield much much crispier lighter results. Moreover, tonkatsu is usually quite thick and juicy (not from deep-frying oil!) and the restaurants in Japan often serve several different pork breeds, some quite expensive, so it’s far from being an ordinary schnitzel-like dish. Chicken katsu, as its name suggests, is a poultry version prepared in the same way, but even though it’s well known by the Japanese, I’ve never seen it in restaurants!

As I’ve mentioned, I’m a huge fan of tonkatsu (and chicken katsu too) and the only thing that used to stop me from making it often was the fat content from deep-frying. Thanks to Nami from Just One Cookbook, I’ve learnt how to bake both tonkatsu and chicken katsu and thus am able to have them both as often as I wish, though from time to time I treat myself to deep-fried cutlets, which remain the best. I baked it so many times, I even invented a super-lazy baked katsu method without egg and flour coatings (see the TIPS below).

Whenever I prepare tonkatsu or its chicken version, I always have some leftovers, usually eaten in sandwiches (fantastic, by the way!). This salad is for me a new way to use up these leftovers and a nice change from the sandwiches. I found the combination of chicken katsu with creamy rich Caesar sauce so good, I made these cutlets once more especially for the purpose of this salad, which I find perfect for when one is fed up with typical winter stews or soups.

TIPS: This is my lazy version of baked chicken katsu : I don’t coat it in egg or flour, as it is traditionally made (the oven version too), but simply brush it with oil or butter. The oil makes the breadcrumbs stick to the meat, though not as well as the traditional flour and egg coating (for me it’s sticky enough). I think coconut oil pairs very well with panko, even though it’s not Japanese at all.

You can of course make this salad with traditional deep-fried chicken katsu or tonkatsu (see the recipe here).

Apart from the lettuce (or other green leaves), you can add any raw vegetables you like. I find some mini-tomatoes actually quite good in winter (the organic Sicilian ones I buy in winter taste actually better than the local mino-tomates in full season!).

If I want to keep Caesar sauce for several days in the fridge, I add store-bought mayonnaise instead of the egg yolk (to be precise, I use low-kcal Japanese Kwepie mayonnaise, the only low-kcal mayonnaise I love). Thus, it keeps well for a week.

Preparation: about 50 min

Ingredients (makes two individual salads):

2 small chicken breasts

oil (I like here coconut oil, though it’s not Japanese at all) or butter

8 heaped tablespoons panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

salt, pepper

1 small lettuce (or any other type of green leaves)

tomates (mini or normal, if you find edible big ones in winter…)

red or yellow sweet pepper

red onion


Caesar sauce:

2-4 preserved anchovy fillets, depending on how much you love anchovies (if they were preserved in salt, wash them) or 1/2-1 tablespoon anchovy paste

1 raw egg yolk or 1 heaped tablespoon mayonnaise

1 big garlic clove, crushed

4 tablespoons olive oil

juice from half a lime (or 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons grated parmesan + some more to sprinkle or shave just before serving

pepper, salt (though usually you don’t need salt because Worcestershire sauce and anchovies are salty enough)

First preheat the oven to 190°C (°F).

Heat the panko in a big frying pan (without fat) at medium heat, stirring until it’s golden. Put aside (it burns quickly!).

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, brush them with oil or butter and coat them with panko (I press the panko to the chicken breasts with my hands to make sure most of it sticks).

Put the chicken breasts on baking paper and bake 20-25 minutes until, when pierced with a tooth pick the running juices are clear, not pink. The time will depend on the oven and the size of chicken breasts.

Prepare the Caesar sauce, mixing all the ingredients.

Divide the vegetables into two bowls, top with sliced chicken katsu, serve with the Caesar sauce and shaved/grated parmesan.

16 Replies to “Salad with Baked Chicken Katsu and Caesar Sauce”

  1. Welcome back Sissi. I really enjoyed reading your intro (I don’t find that sort of thing boring) and I’ve certainly felt that same lack of energy/motivation on occasion. I’m happy to see you occupying this space again. This salad looks incredibly delicious – your Caesar sauce is making my mouth water! Wishing you the very best this new year.

  2. Happy New Year Darlin! So glad to see you back blogging again! Totally understand all of your reasons for taking a break. It’s just something we have to do now and then and there is absolutely nothing wrong with sticking with the old stand-bys for a while. 🙂 Been doing a lot of that myself lately.

    Your salad fits right into one of our NY resolutions. We’re trying to cut back on carbs and salads this this are perfect. Love that baked chicken katsu and I do love your Caesar dressing even without the anchovy. I’ve made it a couple of times for salads and will make it again. Thanks for another keeper and am looking forward to more goodies from you in 2019. It’s wonderful having you back!

    1. Happy New Year, dear MJ! Thank you so much for your kind message and the compliments. I’m glad you like this simple salad! It is healthy but not typical diet food indeed (this is why I made it so often recently!). I’m sure it would be perfect even without the anchovy 😉

  3. Happy New Year, Sissi, nice that you are back. I absolutely love chicken katsu and I will try this baked version for sure. I am very much into Korean and Japanese food lately, we had onigiri for lunch today (also from Just One Cookbook) and salmon donburi on Friday. So goooood!!!! I was planning on making katsu sando at the end of the week. 🙂 🙂 And the best thing about the Japanese recipes I have tried lately (except the fact that they are delicious), my kids eat everything without one word of complain. Even the fish. 🙂

    1. Happy New Year, Adina! Thank you! My several friends’ children also love Japanese food. Sushi too!

  4. Welcome back, we missed you too. I have been away (November/December we were in Arizona and just this past weekend, we went to Mexico for a wedding) so I do understand losing interest in the blogging world. It took quite a bit of energy to comment on blogs while I was away. Fortunately, I had queued up enough posts to get me through the holidays, so I didn’t have to worry about content.

    This type of breaded and fried meat is my husband’s absolute favourite! I love the tips you give to make it easier to prepare. I have often made this in the traditional method but instead of wheat flour, I use coconut flour and it makes it even crispier! Baking the meat is also a great time saver as you don’t have to stand at the fryer waiting for it to finish cooking. I have also pan fried the meat in a dry pan, without oil and it makes a lovely crispy coating.

    1. Eva, thank you so much for all the kind words. I’m so glad to talk to you again! I sincerely admire you for these posts in advance (and not only!). I used to have on or two posts in advance sometimes but it was several years ago; nowadays I cannot make myself more prepare anything in advance (one of my New Year’s resolutions is to change it!). I hope you’ve had lots of fun in Mexico!
      I have never used coconut flour. Thank you for the tip!

    1. Happy New Year, Katerina! Thank you so much for the compliments! I wish I could invite you for a chicken katsu cooking session (or rather after it!).

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