The noble, dare we say regal, Caesar salad has had many reinventions over its long reign. This may be the best one yet, and we aren't being pompous by saying so. Jalapeño adds a slight zesty kick, and the rub… well, therein lies the rub. It perfectly seasons the pieces of chicken that cover this salad with glory. Add in cotija cheese and some onions and peppers, and you've got a salad worth crossing the Rubicon for.
Halve and peel onion. Slice halves into thin strips. Stem, seed, and slice red bell pepper into ¼" strips. Hold romaine heart at root end and chop coarsely. Slice jalapeño into thin rounds. Discard seeds if you prefer less spice. Pat chicken breasts dry. On a separate cutting board, cut chicken into 1" dice. Season chicken with seasoning rub.
Toast the Pepitas
Place a medium non-stick pan over medium heat. Add pepitas to hot pan. Stir occasionally until toasted, 2-3 minutes. Remove to a plate. Reserve pan; no need to wipe clean.
Cook the Chicken
Return pan used to toast pepitas to medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp. olive oil and chicken to hot pan. Cook undisturbed until browned, 2-3 minutes. Then stir occasionally until chicken reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Reserve pan; no need to wipe clean.
Cook the Vegetables
Return pan used to cook chicken to medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp. olive oil, onion, and red bell pepper to hot pan. Cook undisturbed, 2-3 minutes. Then stir occasionally until lightly charred, 2-3 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan. Stir occasionally until chicken is warmed through, 1 minute. Remove from burner.
Make the Salad
Combine mayonnaise, cheese (reserve 1 Tbsp. for garnish), red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp. water, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Add romaine and toss to dress thoroughly. Alternatively, serve dressing on side to control amount.
Finish the Dish
Plate as pictured on front of card and garnish with jalapeño rounds (to taste), pepitas, and reserved cheese. Bon appétit!