Chicken Caesar Salad

Chicken Caesar Salad banner image

Playing with FoodIt’s a staple. A simple salad, and perfect for summer as a light meal or as a side salad for a BBQ or garden party, but it’s so easy to do badly. The key is the sauce; it provides most of the flavour, which is not surprising given the rest of the dish is just lettuce, parmesan, croutons and chicken.

You can buy packs of the salad, but why would you when it’s often full of poor quality ingredients? You could buy premade Caesar dressing, but bottled options tend to be slightly sour tasting and, if you’ve ever read the ingredients in most of them, you might be rather less inclined to consume the contents.

In reality, making your own is easy and cheap. This version crisps up some breadcrumbs quickly for the crouton-type crunch. Once you try it you’ll never go back and, better still, the whole meal takes only 25 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients:

Serves 2 as a main course, or 4 as a side salad

  • 2 skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 large romaine lettuce hearts or 4 baby gem lettuces
  • 1 large handful of breadcrumbs
  • 1 handful of parmesan shavings
  • Heaped teaspoon of dried thyme
  • Sea salt
  • ½ tin of anchovies in oil, finely chopped
  • Olive oil

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • ½ tin of anchovies in oil, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Tablespoon of finely grated parmesan
  • Juice of ¼ lemon
  • Good glug of olive oil
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

Heat the oven to 180°C Fan. Heat some oil in a frying pan; when hot, season the chicken breasts and fry for a minute on each side to seal them. Transfer the chicken breasts to a baking tray and cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile chop the lettuce and place in a large mixing bowl.

In another bowl put all the ingredients for the dressing, and whisk together. Sample your sauce, and add more of any of the ingredients to taste. Set aside.

Heat a good glug of olive oil in a clean frying pan. When hot, add the breadcrumbs, thyme and a pinch of salt. Fry the bread crumbs until golden but not burnt – remember to move them around the pan to make sure everything cooks evenly.

When cooked, tip out onto kitchen paper to soak up excess oil and set aside.

Once the chicken is cooked remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes.

Now add half the sauce to the lettuce and mix through with your hands to ensure all the lettuce is evenly coated; add more of the sauce and repeat – the goal is to evenly coat the lettuce but not drown it.

Then add the breadcrumbs, the parmesan, and the anchovies, and mix through. Divide the salad among the plates.

Slice the chicken and divide among the plates to serve.