Sunday, January 06, 2008

Proper Chicken Ceaser Salad

How happy am I to be back in my kitchen!!! As much as I enjoyed the food in India, I have been longing for simple plain meals. No oil, no spices, just fresh lightly cooked ingredients.

Add to that soaring temperatures of 35C plus, and it all adds up to salads. And lots of them. Just the sight of a few bright, crisp green leaves makes me happy at the moment.

One recipe I have been dying to try is Jamie Oliver's ceaser salad. I saw him cook this on his latest TV show ages ago and it looked so fantastic. Chicken legs are roasted over the top of the bread croutons so that they soak up all the juices adding an additional depth of flavour.

I have to say that it did not disappoint. It was so, so good.

One of the best things I found about this recipe is the idea of mixing the parmesan cheese into the dressing. I know that sounds like a totally silly thing to say.

But really, ceaser salads are hard to eat!! The croutons and bacon bits are hard to get your fork into and are impossible to balance all the way to your mouth. Same with the cheese, it all just falls off and you end up with a big pile of it at the bottom of the bowl. Then it's always served in deep round bowls, which makes it all so hard to get at and even more impossible. No wonder so many of them are drowned in dressing, it glues everything together.

Anyway, enough of my whining. To make this salad extra special I threw in some roasted mushrooms and added some roasted garlic to the dressing. A light drizzle was more than enough. It added great flavour to the salad without a lot of oiliness.

I ate this for lunch for three days in a row. Yum.

Proper Chicken Ceaser Salad
(adapted from Jamie at Home)

Tear a loaf of ciabatta bread into thumb size pieces. Place in a roasting try with four chicken legs. Sprinkle with 3 sprigs of chopped up rosemary, drizzle with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix to ensure that everything is well coated. Move the chicken on top of the bread and roast in a 200C oven for about 45 minutes.

Drape 12 pancetta slices or some thin slices of bacon over the top of the bread and chicken and roast for a further 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Grind garlic (or roasted garlic) to taste with 4 anchovy fillets. Whisk in 75gm of grated parmesan and 1 tbspn of cream or creme fraiche. Add lemon juice and olive oil at a ratio of 1 tbspn lemon = 3 tbspn oil to taste. I added only 1 tbspn lemon and 3 tbspn oil to get maximum taste from only a small amount of dressing. Season if needed.

Place lettuce leaves, bacon, chicken and croutons on a plate and drizzle with the dressing.


At 1:03 am, Blogger Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I love Jamie Oliver's recipes. If I'm craving some "proper" robustly flavoured dishes he's my man. I did see this episode for Caesar Salad. I also loved his dish where he cooked the chicken, tomatoes and potatoes all in one pan in the oven, I still have to try that dish as well!!!

At 9:12 am, Blogger Nora B. said...

Hi KJ,
Welcome back, it's good to see a new post from you. Are you back at work this week too?

Your are right that proper ceaser salad is so good. I like the idea of using roasted garlic. So many cafes say they serve ceaser salad but it's not the real stuff.

I'll have to get back into salads when I return to Sydney.


At 12:40 pm, Blogger KJ said...

Hi BV, I have tried that chicken dish. I agree it looked sensational on TV. It was great in reality too. My other favourite is the sausages cooked with tomatoes one pan dish type thing that he did. It is seriously, seriously good. I will have to blog about it one day.

Hi Nora and thanks. Yes I am back in the everyday grind. Sigh!!!! It had to happen evenutally. I hope you are having a wonderful time in Singapore.

At 1:40 am, Blogger Cynthia said...

KJ, glad you're back home.

This title perfectly fits the description outlined in your post, this is a proper chicken salad and I do love that Jamie Oliver! Did you catch him on Iron Chef last night his show that followed immediately?

At 3:05 am, Blogger Deborah said...

Welcome back, KJ! This salad sounds wonderful! It looks nice and refreshing, as well.

At 5:47 am, Blogger Cheryl said...

Oh wow, with the chicken roasting over the croutons. That is an awesome salad.

At 9:38 pm, Blogger Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Hope you're settling back in to the normal routine of things okay. You're certainly eating well - three days in a row - it must have been good! I think I'd like Jamie's/your version of Ceasar salad.

Love the picture of the roasted garlic too!

At 8:35 pm, Blogger KJ said...

Hi Cynthia, thanks. i never miss a Jamie Oliver series if I can help it. I love his style of food.

Hi Deborah, thanks. It is a lovely refreshing salad.

Hi Cheryl, it is really good.

Hi Amanda, I'm definitely back in the groove. Yeah, I really did enjoy it.

At 6:46 am, Anonymous Verena said...

KJ, I love Ceasar Salad and from time to time I fix it at home. My husband likes it too but he misses I often add chicken to the salad! I never tried roasted garlic...only must be much milder...
Thanks, your blog is great!

At 12:52 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!


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