The key to a delicious chicken Caesar salad is in the dressing

Easy, food processor mayonnaise for this popular salad can be whipped up in minutes

‘Chicken Caesar salad is now so ubiquitous that I would be reluctant to order it in a cafe or restaurant’

‘Chicken Caesar salad is now so ubiquitous that I would be reluctant to order it in a cafe or restaurant’

 

Chicken Caesar salad is now so ubiquitous that I would be reluctant to order it in a cafe or restaurant. Perhaps my time working in a cafe in Cork nearly 20 years ago has forever altered my attitude to this now generic dish.

I often joke that when someone follows a recipe of mine but doesn’t get the right results in terms of taste that they forgot to add the love. When they reply that they didn’t see that ingredient in the recipe, I retort that love is something you need to add yourself. While many will think this anecdote is a tad too corny, it serves as a reminder that cooking is a deeply personal activity.

My chicken Caesar salad

The key to making a delicious Caesar salad is in the dressing. This means making your own mayonnaise, though this isn’t as hard as it seems. To make the mayonnaise, place six salted anchovy fillets (from a tin), one garlic clove, two egg yolks, and one teaspoon of Dijon mustard into a food processor and blend until smooth. With the motor still running, begin to trickle 150ml of light olive oil into the mixture. Do this slowly, as otherwise your dressing will split. To season, add two tablespoons of lemon juice and sea salt to taste.

Rub two butterflied chicken breasts with oil and season with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a few sprigs of rosemary. Cook on a griddle pan until cooked through. Set aside to cool before slicing. For the croutons, chop up about 200g of day-old sourdough loaf and drizzle with oil before baking at 180 degrees, until golden brown.

To assemble, chop up a large head of romaine lettuce (baby gem is also nice). Place the lettuce in a bowl with the dressing and mix. Add the sliced chicken, the croutons and as much shaved Parmesan (I use a vegetable peeler) as you like. Finish with some freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.

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