A classic Caesar Salad with a homemade Caesar Salad dressing, and the addition of chicken to make this a satisfying meal. The dressing is key and I truly believe this will rival that of any great restaurant!
Ahhhh, Caesar Salad. Probably the most popular salad ever, in this entire world. I’ve certainly ordered plenty in my time. In fact, it was my go-to standard salad when I used to work in the city. I didn’t care about being infested with garlic breath all afternoon. That’s what breath mints are for!!
I’ve never been under an illusion that Caesar Salad is healthy. In fact, it’s probably the unhealthiest salad I know.
But you know what? OK, so the dressing isn’t the lightest in the world – and I’m usually pretty darn generous with it. But dressing calorie content aside, at least I’m getting lots of greens into my system, right?? Or put it this way – a giant bowl of Caesar Salad might have the same calories as a creamy pasta, but it’s got a whole lot more nutrition in it!
Homemade Caesar Dressing. If you’ve never tried it before, you’re in for a real treat. It is absolutely sensational, and not even the poshest gourmet store can compare to a fresh homemade one. I know some people might scrunch up their faces at the thought of anchovy in a dressing, but seriously! It is the secret ingredient that will turn a “pretty good” dressing into a restaurant quality one!
Many salads are as simple as “Shake Dressing ingredients in a jar, toss Salad ingredients with Dressing”. This is not one of those. There are quite a number of components to a Caesar Salad, and to make this properly, you can’t skip any of them. I will take any shortcut I can, as long as it doesn’t compromise on a dish.
And for Caesar Salad, there are no shortcuts. Other than using mayonnaise for the dressing instead of making my own. 🙂
This is one giant salad. Not one of those wimpy salads that will have you starving 30 minutes later. And it’s just so ridiculously delicious. The fresh crisp lettuce, coated with beautiful homemade Caesar Salad Dressing, the crunchy garlic croutons, the salty pops of bacon and the soft savoury creaminess from a soft boiled egg.
Caesar Salad might take time to make, but it is worth every single second. Really, truly, cross my heart. – Nagi x
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 2 anchovy fillets or 3/4 tsp Anchovy paste (Note 1)
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup mayonnaise , preferably whole egg (Note 2)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese , or 1/4 cup store bought grated parmesan cheese (Note 3)
- 2 - 4 tbsp milk (to adjust consistency)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Black pepper
- 2 chicken breast fillets , skin on or skinless (~500 -600g/13oz - 1lb)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 slices white bread , 2/3" / 1.5cm thick (to make 1 cup of croutons)
- 1 garlic , cut in half
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 - 5 oz/100g - 150g bacon , chopped
- 2 - 4 eggs
- 1 large or 2 medium romaine / cos lettuce , washed and dried (Note 4)
- Freshly grated parmesan
- More anchovies (optional!)
Dressing: Whizz ingredients in food processor until smooth, starting with 2 tbsp milk. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as desired, and use milk to get the dressing to the desired consistency. (Note 5)
Chicken: Either pound the chicken to about 1.2cm/ 1/2" even thickness, or slice each breast in half horizontally. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook the first side for 5 minutes, turn then cook the other side for 2 minutes. Remove, cover loosely with foil and rest for 5 minutes. Cut into slices.
Bacon: Add the bacon into the skillet and cook until golden. Drain on paper towels.
Eggs: Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Place over medium high heat and bring to simmer. Once the water is simmering, turn down to medium (gentle simmer) and cook for 3 minutes (for soft centres), 4 minutes for firm yolks and 7 minutes for hard boiled. Remove eggs, run under cold water for 15 seconds then leave submerged in a bowl of cold tap water for 5 minutes. Peel then set aside. (Note 6)
Croutons (Note 7): Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Toast bread in the toaster for 1 minute until surface is dried but not browned. Rub both sides of each piece of bread with the cut side of the garlic. Remove crust from bread (optional) and cut into cubes - around 1 cup. Drizzle with 1 - 2 tbsp olive oil, sprinkle with salt, then bake until golden, shaking the tray once.
Chop lettuce to desired size - I just stack the leaves and cut into 1 inch strips.
Assembly: Place lettuce in a bowl with half the chicken and half the bacon. Drizzle with dressing then toss. Top with remaining chicken and bacon, croutons, place eggs on the side and garnish with freshly grated parmesan if desired.
1. The anchovy fillets are key to achieve a true restaurant quality flavour. You can't taste it, but it's the seasoning for the sauce so if you skip it, you'll need to add more salt. Make sure you use the dark brown anchovy fillets in oil that come in a jar or can in the canned fish aisle of supermarkets, not the white anchovy fillets that are brined in vinegar, not oil, that are typically sold at delis, not prepackaged.
Anchovies in a jar (it's small) are more convenient than cans because they keep for ages in the fridge. Next time you make a olive oil based or tomato PASTA, chop up an anchovy or two and saute it with the onions, then add the other sauce ingredients. It gives the pasta an extra something-something flavour - this is a restaurant secret!
If you really prefer not to use anchovies, 1 tsp of fish sauce will be an adequate substitute.
2. Whole egg mayonnaise is not as vinegary as normal vinegar.
3. Store bought pre-grated parmesan is denser than freshly grated which is why you don't need as much.
4. Dressing won't coat wet lettuce so make sure it's dried!
5. Don't thin the dressing too much, otherwise it won't cling to the lettuce. You can whizz it up in a blender or use a stick blender too!
6. Cooling the eggs stops them from cooking further and helps make it easy to peel them.
7. The purpose of this step is to add garlic flavour to the croutons. I prefer not to toss the croutons in minced garlic because the garlic burns before the croutons turn golden.
8. Nutrition per serving (4 serves), assuming 2 eggs (i.e. half egg per person) and 3/4 of the dressing is used. If the bacon is substituted with turkey bacon, the calorie per serving is 557 calories.
LIFE OF DOZER
No photobombing by Dozer today because a) he didn’t realise there was chicken and bacon in the salad; and b) he was having a good snooze after a rather active session at Bayview…. 😉