Deliciously Different Chicken Caeser Salad

chicken caeser

Following on from last weeks super salad, here’s another one to enjoy on these hot summer days and warm summer nights. Filling enough to enjoy as a main meal but not too hearty and filling for a heat suppressed appetite. My recipe today is a twist on a Classic Caesar salad. There absolutely nothing wrong with Caesar salad, in fact a well made one, is one of my favourite things to eat, especially on a warm summers night. Sweet, crispy lettuce with salty Parmesan and garlic infused crunchy croutons, all bound together in a rich creamy dressing, punchy with garlic and Parmesan and the very subtle notes of anchovy and mustard. It really is a fantastic thing.

Today though I’ve made a few changes, purists will be shouting at the page saying “you can’t call it a Caesar salad if it’s not a proper Caesar salad!” But all the elements are there. The dressing is made in the same way, the core ingredients are there. So if you have difficulty calling it a Caesar salad just think of it as something else, but do try it, it’s absolutely delicious.

Little gem (often known as baby gem),  or cos (also known as romaine) are your traditional choice of lettuce for a Caesar salad and I’m going to use some of that today, but I’m going to throw in some additional greens, something you may not have thought of using in a salad before. I’m also using some Savoy cabbage and some Kale, both slightly cooked to take the toughness out of them, but cooked quickly in rapidly boiling water and plunged in to keep their crunch, Colour and most importantly their nutrients. As an added bonus kale is probably one of the top 5 super foods around at the moment, which basically means, without going in to too much detail, it’s really really good for you!

Other changes that I’m making include a tweak to the dressing, most notably the cheese that I’m putting in. As I said before, a classic Caesar dressing will have Parmesan in it, as well as having shaved Parmesan through the salad. Today, as well as the Parmesan I’m putting in some blue cheese. I’m sure that will put some of you off but stick with me, I’m using a mild creamy blue cheese, and not too much of it, it works really well and it’s far from overpowering, trust me.

The croutons are where you will find one of the main differences with my Caesar salad, I’m using potatoes instead of bread for the croutons. You still get the crunch as you bite in to a crispy potato but the texture inside is different, light and fluffy. I’m using garlic and smoked paprika to add flavour to them whilst they cook.

I’m also marinating the chicken to give it some extra flavour, you can do this for anything between 4 and 24 hours.  The longer you marinade it the more the flavours will work their way in to the chicken.

 

Serves 4

For the salad

1/2 Savoy cabbage core and any tough outer leaves removed them shredded

1/2 kale stalks removed and shredded

4 little gem lettuce torn or shredded

Large handful fresh Parmesan shavings

 

Put the kale and Savoy cabbage in to boiling salted water and cook for 3 minutes then transfer quickly in to a bowl of iced water to cool. This helps retain colour and goodness. Drain well when completely cool.

 

For the potato croutons

1 large potato peeled and cut in to small dice

1 clove garlic peeled and left whole

1 sprig thyme

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Salt

2 tbsp oil

 

Soak the potato dice in cold water for 5 minutes then drain and dry.

Heat the oil, thyme and garlic gently in a large pan to allow the garlic and thyme to infuse for a few minutes, remove them,turn up the heat and add the potatoes. Season with salt and paprika and fry tossing regularly until crispy on the outside and fluffy inside. Drain on kitchen paper.

 

For the dressing

250ml good quality mayonnaise

75g Parmesan grated

75g dolcelatte cheese

2 cloves garlic chopped

2 anchovy fillets chopped

2tbsp Dijon mustard

2tbsp white wine vinegar

Salt to taste

About 40ml lukewarm water

 

In a food processor or with a stick blender blitz the cheeses, garlic, anchovy, mustard and vinegar until smooth then add the mayo and blitz again. Gradually add the water to loosen the dressing off a bit then season to taste with salt.

 

For the chicken

2 chicken breasts

1/2tsp smoked paprika

1/2tsp fresh thyme leaves

1 clove garlic crushed

Squeeze lemon juice

Pinch salt

2 tbsp oil

 

Mix together all the marinade ingredients and rub well in to the chicken. Leave to marinade for up to 24 hours then roast in the oven at 190’c for about 15 minutes until cooked through. Allow to cool slightly then slice.

 

To make the salad

Toss the savoy, kale and little gem with 2/3 of the dressing, 2/3 of the potato croutons and 2/3 of the Parmesan shavings then divide between 4 large bowls. Top each bowl with a little more dressing and the remaining croutons and Parmesan then top each one with an equal amount of the marinated chicken.

 

 

TOP TIP

I’ve made things a little easier today by using a good quality shop bought mayonnaise to make the Caesar dressing but if you’d like to have a go at making it completely from scratch then try this. In a food processor mix 2 egg yolks with the mustard, garlic, anchovies and vinegar until smooth and creamy then gradually and very slowly add in about 250-300ml of oil until you have a thick creamy dressing, then beat in the cheese and add salt if required. Again you can loosen it off with some warm water or more oil.

Comments are closed.