I'm very picky about salads. I've got a sensitive nose for wilty greens, of which there are always a few in those prepacked baggies, and those misters in the supermarket gross me out, so I'm not fond of the stuff on the shelves, either. Luckily, I can always get some good salad greens at the farmer's market, and if I don't make it there, hearts of romaine stand up pretty well to the bag treatment. I love the crispness of romaine, and I especially love Caesar salad, so that tends to be my default salad. Which is fine, because I'm addicted to it.
Michael Ruhlman has been blogging about the disappointing pervasiveness of the bland and boring chicken Caesar on restaurant menus, and I agree with his assessment -- but I do think that homemade Caesar salad is a whole different beast. Bottled dressings are, excuse my language, completely fucking disgusting, and I'm sure every major chain restaurant uses the same 5-gallon drum of the stuff from Jordano's or a similar supply company, but homemade Caesar is delightfully tangy, a lovely interplay of raw garlic and anchovy and creamy egg yolk and Parmesan. Good olive oil brings all the ingredients together in the great "group hug" that is emulsification. Want to top it with some boneless skinless chicken breast? Easy. Or, you could go really decadent, and try Ruhlman's "Chicken Fried Pork Belly Caesar" which I totally plan on making as soon as I can get my hands on some pork belly. Or just have it plain -- it's up to you. Recipe here.