This is the quasi Caesar salad which I had mentioned making along with the Coconut Lentil Soup I posted last week. The classic Caesar salad usually has a dressing of olive oil, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and egg mixed together with mashed anchovy fillets and tossed with a bread croutons and lettuce topped with grated parmesan cheese. Culinary lore tells us that this salad dates back to the 1920s when it was created by an Italian chef called Caesar Cardini and it was meant to be tossed right at the table - it apparently still is done like that with a lot of flair in a few restaurants in New York.
I have seen a lot of Caesar salads with chicken here in India - apparently it is not part of the original recipe. This particular recipe is so loosely adapted from the original that if it changed anymore it would be like a well worn sock!
But I do have some expert backing on this - I vaguely remember Jamie Oliver roasting bread croutons and chicken together before tossing it with a Caesar salad dressing. My version of course deviates from even his version in that, I didn't use anchovies, pancetta or creme fraiche and instead roasted some vegetables as well along with the chicken. So - suffice to say - this is a grilled chicken salad! :)
The chicken infused the bread croutons with its juices while roasting and it was absolutely great to bite into those crisp squares. Instead of using a raw egg in the dressing, I coddled the egg - which is basicaly means boiling the whole egg in water for not more than 45 seconds. I was also liberal with the garlic and herb and it ended up making a great meal with the combination of the soup to start with and a bowl of watermelon to finish.
Whole Wheat Bread - 3 slices cut into 1/2 " cubes.
300gms chicken breast sliced and marinated in:
- 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp olive oil and salt to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion peeled and cut into squares
1 bell pepper cut into squares
1 tbsp dried herbs
3 cloves garlic chopped
Lettuce leaves, washed,dried and torn - 2 cups
5 tbsp Grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic finely chopped
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp mustard (Dijon is preferable)
1 egg coddled (boiled in water for 45 seconds and cooled)
5 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp freshly ground pepper
salt to taste
1. Combine the marinated chicken pieces with the bread cubes, 2 tbsp olive oil, onion and pepper squares, herbs and salt.
2. Roast in a pre heated oven at 180C for about 15-20 minutes till the chicken is cooked and tender and the bread is crisp.
3. For the dressing , mix Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice,minced garlic, salt, crushed pepper and mustard.Crack the coddled egg and whisk into the other ingredients. Add the olive oil slowly while continuing to whisk constantly so that it doesn't separate.
4. Arrange half the chicken pieces and half the bread croutons in a bowl and toss with half of the dressing. Add the remaining salad and the remaining dressing and toss again.
5. Put in the torn lettuce and toss again. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top and serve warm or cold.
I make sure never to serve raw or undercooked eggs to children; pregnant women too should be very careful while eating dressings which may contain raw eggs.