Cesar’s salad is one of my great guilty pleasures – it pains me to admit it but there’s just something I love about its corny, overexposed spirit. Sadly though, it rarely lives up to the expectation and dies a horribly turgid death in almost all of the limp and overly-processed incarnations you find on the market... Thankfully it’s extremely easy to whip up. Ideal for a quick mid-week dinner, I made last night’s offering in about half an hour...
My friend who had popped in to eat with us was most impressed by the croutons and asked for extras of “that stale, old bread”... to be honest I’m not sure whether to chalk that up as a triumph or disaster...
Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Tear the ciabatta into bite-sized pieces and place in a large oven proof dish in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the crushed garlic and some parmesan. Mix with your hands until the bread is thoroughly coated with the oil and seasonings and pop in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until golden.
Meanwhile, fry the chicken in olive oil over a medium heat until cooked through. In a separate pan dry fry the lardons until golden.
Put the raw egg, garlic, Worcester sauce, Dijon mustard, anchovies, and lemon juice into the blender and blend until smooth. With the blender running slowly trickle the oils through the spout until you have reached the desired (emulsified) consistency.
Obviously with the raw egg it’s not great for the old/young/pregnant people in your lives but you can substitute a generous tablespoon of store bought mayonnaise in place of the egg if needs be...
At the last minute, dress the lettuce leaves and then assemble the salad. Sprinkle extra parmesan over to taste and serve as soon as possible.
Chicken Cesar Salad: (serves 3)
3 baby gem lettuces
3 chicken breasts, sliced into strips
Parmasan, grated or shaved
1 loaf of chabatta
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 avocado, coarsely chopped
Salt and Pepper
Cesar Salad Dressing:
1 clove of garlic, whole
1tbsp Worcester sauce
1tsp Dijon mustard
3 anchovy fillets, whole
1tbsp oil from the anchovy fillet jar
½ a lemon, juice only