Chicken Caesar Salad
Caesar salad often emphasises the heavy, creamy dressing, which is more often than not over-processed and ruins a perfectly good salad. For me it is all about the croutons. Croutons are a delicious and convenient way to use bread that is past its prime. Most cultures in the world have some creative use for stale bread – in Spain it’s blended with ripe tomatoes to make Gazpacho, in France it’s soaked in an egg mixture and fried to make the world-famous French toast. In England they make bread and butter pudding, and in New York they feed it to the birds in Central Park. Here in little old Dunedin I like to chop it up, smother it in olive oil, and fry it in fragrant herbs. These rustic croutons are then combined with crunchy, lightly dressed lettuce, avocado, and coriander, creating a scrumptious twist on the classic Caesar salad. This recipe also adds chicken to make a satisfying dinner, and uses an adaptation of Jamie Oliver’s lighter Caesar dressing to keep it healthy and fresh.
Salad:400g chicken breast
1 iceberg lettuce
A handful of coriander
100g shaved parmesan
Croutons:Half a loaf of bread
3 tbs olive oil
1 tbs dried mixed herbs
Dressing: 1/3 cup plain yoghurt
2 tbs olive oil
2 tsp Worchester sauce
1 tbs grated parmesan
1 small garlic clove, peeled and minced
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper
Method01 | Brown the chicken breasts in a hot pan, then place in an oven dish and bake until cooked through at 200°C (about 20 minutes).
02 | While the chicken is cooking, bring a pot of water to the boil and cook the eggs for four minutes. This should leave the yolks slightly runny, so they can help to dress the salad. Set aside to cool.
03 | Cut the bread into pieces of a desired size. I do mine quite small, about 1cm-wide squares. Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a large pan and add the bread. Cover evenly with the remaining oil and the herbs. Turn these consistently in the pan (to avoid burning) for about five minutes, or until they are crispy and golden.
04 | Wash and dry the lettuce and tear it into manageable pieces.
05 | Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing with a fork until well combined. Pour the dressing into a bowl with the lettuce and toss until evenly covered.
06 | Chop the coriander and avocado, and add to the bowl.
07 | Shred the chicken with a knife and fork, then add this to the salad with the croutons.
08 | Peel the eggs, then cut them into quarters over the salad in case the yolks spill. Sprinkle over the shaved Parmesan. Toss and serve.
Feeds four scarfies - $16
This article first appeared in Issue 25, 2012
Posted 4:25pm Sunday 23rd September 2012 by Maeve Jones