Presented a little differently, this Chicken Caesar Salad is made using chicken breast which is poached using a foolproof method that guarantees it will be super moist every single time.
Woah – there’s been a serious lack of greens around here lately! I got way too caught up in the Slow Cooked Beef Cheeks series. OK, time to bring some freshness back onto my blog! And what better way to bring greens back that with a classic – but done my way? Caesar Salad, I love you and I could eat you every day!
What’s your favourite part of caesar salads? The creamy, insanely addictive dressing? The salty crunchy croutons? The bacon bits? That’s the thing about caesar salad. It’s got it all. There’s no compromise.
And you know, I was pleasantly surprised when I ran the Nutrition Analysis on this, it’s only 450 calories a serving. It’s so darn delicious I was positive it would be much higher. By far the biggest contributor to the calorie count is the dressing. But if you thin it slightly using milk, the dressing goes much further and then it’s also the perfect consistency for drizzling (rather than tossing through).
Part of the reason the calories aren’t as high as I expected is that the chicken is poached rather than pan fried. Did you know that 1 tbsp of oil is 120 calories? It catches me by surprise every time I do a Nutrition Analysis on a recipe that I think is reasonably healthy.
But to be honest, I don’t poach the chicken just to save on calories. I poach it using a foolproof method because it is the only way to cook chicken breast and guarantee it will come out super juicy and moist every single time. It’s so simple – all you do is leave chicken breast in boiled (but not boiling) water for 20 to 25 minutes. Quite often, I end up accidentally leaving the chicken in the water for way past the required time. But it still comes out perfectly moist. It is impossible to overcook chicken using this method because the temperature of the water drops to a point that it can’t continue cooking the chicken. It’s brilliant and effortless.
Rather than tossing the dressing through chopped salad, I like to present this with a halved baby cos/romaine lettuce and the sliced chicken on the side. I think this is quite a nice way of presenting this salad and you can drizzle over as much (or as little) dressing as you want.
I’ve also served this as a help-yourself spread with a platter piled with halved baby cos/romaine lettuce and bowls of crispy bacon bits, croutons, freshly grated parmesan cheese and a jug of dressing. It’s a great idea for a stress free lunch because you can prepare everything in advance.
Hope you enjoy!
- 400 g / 13 oz (2 x 200g / 7oz) chicken breasts , boneless
- 3 rashers bacon , diced
- 2 Baby Cos/Romaine lettuce , halved lengthwise
- 1 cup diced bread (preferably stale)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Olive oil spray
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 2 anchovy fillets
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup mayonnaise , preferably whole egg
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese , or 1/4 cup store bought fresh grated cheese (Note 1)
- Milk , to adjust consistency
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Black pepper
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Fill a saucepan with enough water so that the chicken breast will be completely submerged when you put it in.
Bring the water to boil. Add the chicken breasts, put the lid on and bring water back to boil. Then remove the saucepan from heat and leave for 20 to 25 minutes. Don't worry if you leave it for longer, it won't overcook.
Remove the chicken from the water and slice into pieces, then set aside.
Dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients in a small food processor or blender. Whizz until smooth. Use milk to adjust the consistency to your liking.
Croutons: Preheat oven to 180C/300F. Spread bread on a baking tray. Spray lightly with olive oil and sprinkle salt over. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
Bacon: Heat a small pan with a light spray of olive oil. Add bacon and sauté until crisp. Remove from pan and set aside.
Place half a cos lettuce on each plate.
Divide the chicken between the plates.
Drizzle over dressing, scatter with bacon, croutons and fresh shaved parmesan.
1. This method of poaching chicken breast works for pieces up to 300g/10oz. If your chicken breast is larger than this, then halve it (lengthwise) to ensure that the chicken breast will cook through. If you cook chicken that is much smaller than 7oz/200g, it will overcook a touch (but not by much). I don't recommend using this method for tenderloins, they are too thin and will end up dry.
2. 7oz / 200g chicken breast will take about 20 minutes to cook, 10oz / 300g takes about 25 minutes. Don't worry if you leave it for longer as it doesn't need to be exact. The chicken will not overcook as the water won't be hot enough. That's how the chicken breast ends up perfectly moist.
3. If you don't have anchovy fillets, you can substitute with 1/4 tsp of fish sauce.
4. You will need more freshly grated parmesan than store bought for the equivalent weight.
5. Nutrition per serving.