How to cook the perfect Chicken Caesar Salad
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Serves two people
There are some dishes in the world which really deserve the title of ‘classic’. Dishes which you can find in fine restaurants worldwide, dishes which combine simple, clean flavours, with a deceptive complexity.
Dishes which we return to, again and again, for their delicious qualities, comforting familiarity, balance and taste. One such dish is surely the Chicken Caesar Salad - a firm favourite with ladies who lunch, and a stylish choice which has never fallen from fashion.
This isn’t just a restaurant meal, however, and can be easily made at home with fantastic results. It’s a perfect salad to make in sizeable batches, to be shared with friends at lunchtime on the terrace, with a good bottle of wine and plenty of free-flowing conversation.
What you'll need for the salad:
- One tablespoon of sunflower oil
- One Romaine lettuce heart
- Ten halved cherry tomatoes
- Two decently thick slices of ciabatta
- Good quality, flaked sea salt
- Black pepper
What you'll need for the dressing:
- Two roughly chopped anchovy fillets
- Two tablespoons of mayonnaise
- A teaspoon of lemon juice
- One roughly chopped clove of garlic
- About fifteen grams of grated Parmesan (or similar hard cheese)
- Two and a half tablespoons of cold water
Get your dressing made and out of the way. In a pestle and mortar, add your anchovy fillets and your chopped garlic, and grind to a paste. Add all your other dressing ingredients, and continue mixing and stirring until you have a nice, pourable dressing for your salad.
You’ll want to prepare your chicken. For me, the best way to prepare chicken breasts for a salad is to place the breast between two sheets of cling film, and give it a good bash with a rolling pin or something heavy, until it is about one centimetre thick. Take the film off, and season well with salt and pepper.
Add a little oil to a hot pan, then fry your chicken breasts for about two and a half minutes on each side, until nicely browned and evenly cooked. Take the pan off the heat, and leave the chicken there to rest.
Now make the main body of the salad. Tear off the lettuce leaves and give them a quick wash, then arrange in a large bowl or serving dish. Throw your chopped cherry tomatoes over the leaves, and add bite size chunks of toasted ciabatta.
Cut your chicken breasts into strips, and then add these (while warm) on top of the tomatoes and lettuce leaves. Pour over half the dressing (leave the other half to serve), and toss it all together. Et voila! A classic, healthy Caesar salad.
Wine Pairing for Chicken Caesar Salad
A light, healthy salad to share, a good friend, and a bottle of well-matched wine. Could anything be finer? There are loads of great wine recommendations that could go with a chicken caesar salad, as chicken breast is a versatile meat that fits with many white wine styles.
However, we think that for this particular dish - especially outside on a sunny day - you need something really special that’s going to highlight the delicate flavours in both the chicken and the dressing, and which is going to add to that light, breezy, al fresco feeling.
As such, I’m recommending two different wines to go with this dish, as I think both would be perfect with the saltiness of the anchovy dressing, and the slightly charred flavours of the chicken.
The first would be a Gavi - a crisp, dry Italian white wine which is enjoying great success at the moment as an affordable, reliable alternative to Pinot Grigio (which everyone has grown a little bored of by now).
The other would be a good, dry rose wine from Provence or similar - these wines are bursting with sunny, summery flavours, perfect to pair with salads that need a bit of dryness and astringency. Delicious!
Here's our quick wine quiz to help you meet your top 3 wine matches!