King Salad

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Good evening salad buffs! Today is classic salad Tuesday. This is a new invention, and I think it's going to be a hit. Today's classic is Chicken Caesar salad. This is always a restaurant worthy order, but there is something really satisfying about making it yourself, dressing and all. Perhaps the satisfying thing is, you get to eat it in your pants. I did.  

For my Chicken Caesar Salad you will need:

2 square ciabatta rolls (or 1 medium ciabatta loaf)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 Baby gem lettuce

For the dressing:
1 garlic clove
2 anchovies from a tin
Medium block Parmesan or Grano Padano cheese for grating and shaving (you won't use all of it)
5 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp white wine vinegar

To begin with, we are making our own croutons. Preheat the oven to 200c and then tear your ciabatta into square-ish pieces. You can cut them into squares, but who has the patience for that kind of faffing? I'm a tearing girl at heart.

Cover a baking tray with the bread and pour over about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Make sure the bread is covered in oil. Use hands if necessary, as you've probably guessed, I did.

Season with salt and pepper then put in the oven for 10 minutes. Take the tray out once or twice and shake the croutons up so they brown evenly. 

Whilst the ciabatta is making its wonderful transformation into croutons, you have time to prepare the chicken. Heat a pan, ready to put the chicken in. Cover the chicken in the remaining olive oil and season. Put the chicken into the pan, if it is hot enough it should sizzle. Sa sa sa sizzzzlin'.

Cook on one side for four minutes and then for another four minutes on the other side. Make sure chicken is cooked through before taking off the heat.

The croutons should be ready now, so take them out of the oven and put them to one side. Beware of trying these gems before your salad is ready. You may somehow eat them all. They are delish. 

Now to make your dressing. Begin by mashing your anchovies in a bowl with a fork until they form a paste. Not pretty I know, but it does taste great. Give it a chance! 

Add five tablespoons of mayonnaise to the bowl and mix in. This was a great struggle for me. I've only just started to get along with mayonnaise in cooking. Had to do it at arms length, but it's in!

Add a tablespoon of white wine vinegar. 

Then peel your garlic and crush it with the flat side of a knife.

Now if you have a garlic crusher, crush your garlic. But if you don't have one, like me (what student has a garlic crusher?!) chop the garlic very finely. Flatten it a little with the flat side of a knife too. Add to the dressing mix. 

Grate a little of your Parmesan and add it to the dressing. If you don't like your dressings too cheesy/salty then you can omit this.  

Season to taste. Mix all the ingredients in thoroughly. The dressing should have the consistency of yoghurt. If it's too thick add a tablespoon or two of water to thin it out.

Now tear your chicken into bitesize shreds. Boyfriend came in at this point and thought bitesize shreds needed a taste check. They didn't. But he insisted.

 Now wash your lettuce and tear up the leaves.

Line the bottom of a serving dish with the leaves and scatter half the chicken and half the croutons over the top.

Pour most of the dressing over the salad. Mix in thoroughly with your hands. 

Scatter the rest of the chicken and croutons on the top. Then shave as much Parmesan as you like to serve with. Personally, I can't resist a bit of Parmesan so I go overboard.

 Enjoy readers! Super duper easy to assemble. Did I just say super duper...

Serve with the Olympics and maybe a glass of wine. Or two.
Happy Classic Salad Tuesday!
L. xxxx

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