I love chicken Caesar salad. It’s become a bit of a cliché, hasn’t it, a stalwart of a certain type of restaurant menu. I don’t care. I think it’s scrummy.
I did some research when I came to write this (by which I mean I looked at Wikipedia. God bless the Internet) and was surprised to discover that this dish supposedly dates back to the 1920s. Also, that the original does not contain actual anchovies (which I always assumed were a given) – but that a faint anchovy flavour was bestowed by a splash of Worcestershire sauce.
As with most recipes, there are potentially endless variations of the Caesar salad – and here is mine. Plonking a chicken breast on top makes it a more substantial meal, but of course, if you are less carniverous or less greedy than me then leaving it off will reduce the total pro points in the recipe to 6.
I don’t know where I originally found this particular method of making the dressing, but it works very well. The combination of the soft boiled egg and the yoghurt give a good silken texture while the other components pack the requisite Caesar punch. The addition of the chilli flakes, by the way, is a new one on me and comes following a recent post on one of my very favourite food blogs, Jenny Eatwell’s. Jenny suggests that the hint of heat adds a je ne sais quoi to the dressing and I really liked how it worked – especially since it picked up on the slight chilli note in the Cajunated chicken.
For the dressing:
1 medium egg
2 tbsp 0% fat Greek yoghurt
3-4 fat garlic cloves
1 anchovy fillet, rinsed and patted dry
Tsp Dijon mustard
Pinch of chilli flakes
Squeeze of lemon juice
15g Parmesan cheese, grated
For the croutons:
2 slices of bread from a medium white loaf, crusts removed
1 tbsp olive oil
2 heads of Little Gem lettuce
2 medium chicken breasts
Cajun seasoning (optional)
Serves 2, 10 pro points per serving
First of all, prepare the ingredients for your dressing. Wrap the garlic cloves, skin and all, up in a little foil package and roast in a hot oven for around 45 minutes, at which point the sweet flesh will slip easily from the papery skins.
Put the egg in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water and bring up to simmering point. Simmer for 2 minutes.
Place your peeled egg, the roasted garlic and all the other constituent parts, along with a good scrunch of black pepper, in a mini processor and whizz until smooth. Reserve until ready to serve (dressing the lettuce to early will make it soggy).
To make the croutons, cut your bread into squares, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake in a hot (180 – 200) oven for 15 minutes until crisp and golden.
If using, rub Cajun seasoning to taste into your chicken breasts, and then bake in a hot oven for about 20 minutes until cooked through and juicy. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Assemble: tear your lettuce up, anoint with dressing and top with your crunchy croutons and your warm chicken.