A classic chicken salad recipe, featuring crunchy croutons and a creamy, garlic dressing. Ideal for lunch with friends. This is how we know the Caesar salad, served in local cafes and exquisite restaurants. I must admit, it is my favourite option for a business lunch or a casual weekend bite with friends. I have tasted so many varieties and the pleasure of its delicious simplicity and abundance of flavour never seizes to amaze.
Re-creating this classic salad at home does not require culinary extravagance. Boneless chicken breasts, cubed and baked. A favourite selection of salads. Crispy golden brown croutons. Rasped parmesan cheese and the distinct Caesar dressing. The classic recipe boundaries are stoping here, but there is no need for your creativity to stop. The beauty of home made salads is that you may add anything you want. I like to add fresh or dry tomatoes as they give an extra sweetness to the dish. For the rest, pick up your flavours, mix all ingredients in a bowl and the day is yours!
For the Salad
- 4 thick slices crusty white bread
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 1 large romaine lettuce, leaves separated
- Dry tomatoes
- Parmesan cheese
For the Dressing
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 anchovies from a tin
- Parmesan cheese
- 5 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Cut the white bread slices into cubes. Spread over a large baking sheet or tray and sprinkle over 2 tbsp olive oil. Rub the oil into the bread and season with a little salt if you like (sea salt crystals are best for this). Bake for 8-10 mins, turning the croutons a few times during cooking so they brown evenly.
2. Rub 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts with 1 tbsp olive oil, season. Place pan over a medium heat for 1 min, until hot, but not smoking. Lay the chicken on the pan (it will sizzle if it’s hot enough) and leave for 4 mins. Turn the chicken, then cook for 4 mins more. Check if it’s cooked by poking the tip of a sharp knife into the thickest part; there should be no sign of pink and juices will run clear.
3. Bash 1 garlic clove with the flat of a knife and peel off the skin. Crush with a garlic crusher. Mash 2 anchovies with a fork against the side of a small bowl.
4. Grate a handful of parmesan cheese and mix with the garlic, anchovies, 5 tbsp mayonnaise and 1 tbsp white wine vinegar. Season to taste. It should be the consistency of yogurt – if yours is thicker, stir in a few tbsp water.
5. Shave the cheese with a peeler. Tear 1 large lettuce into large pieces and put in a large bowl. Pull chicken into bite-size strips and scatter half over the leaves. Add most of the dressing and toss with your fingers. Scatter the rest of the chicken, croutons and dry tomatoes then drizzle with the remaining dressing. Sprinkle the parmesan on top and serve straight away.