I had never made caesar salad in my life until the last week of my pregnancy with Grace. We were smack bang in the middle of a heat wave, I was soooooo heavily pregnant (I literally used to pull a bar stool up to the stove to cook!) and one afternoon I just got a hankering for some caesar salad. I don’t know why, it is not something I would even usually order off a menu – but my tummy told me it was caesar salad night and I was not about to argue (it was big and very scary at the time!!)
So off I went, very slowly making a caesar salad. Rob was so excited when he got home from work to be getting something a bit different (for us) for dinner, his exact words were “Tam, dinner was unexpected, but delicious” 😂 And no, that is not how we usually talk to each other!
Since then, chicken caesar salad is on the menu fairly regularly and definitely with the weather starting to warm up now it will be coming out more often as a good option for a summer night dinner.
The great thing about this recipe is that you can prepare the majority of the elements ahead of time (e.g. during nap time or ‘quiet time’ (what’s that you ask? I’m not sure either!!)) so that come witching hour where kids are needing to be bathed and fed, but are instead climbing walls or swinging from chandeliers, all you need to do is cook the chicken and bacon and assemble the salad.
For the salad:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cut into thick strips
Masterfood barbecue seasoning (or you could just use salt and pepper to season the chicken)
8 pieces of short bacon
1 iceberg lettuce, cut into thin shreds
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
3-4 eggs, boiled to your liking (I go medium soft)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
cracked black pepper to serve (optional)
For the croutons:
3-4 slices of crusty bread, cut into chunky cubes
1 tbsp butter, melted
For the dressing:
1/2 cup whole egg mayonnaise
1/2 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp woerstechire sauce
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
I know traditionally there would be anchovies in caesar salad dressing but I am not an anchovy kinda gal – add them if you wish!
Prep time: 40 mins
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4 people
Prepare the chicken:
Cut the chicken breasts into thick strips (tenderloin size) and pop into a bowl.
Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and then season with barbecue seasoning. If you don’t have any barbecue seasoning you could use any all purpose seasoning or even plain salt and pepper.
Stir to coat the chicken properly, then cover with glad wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to cook.
Prepare the dressing:
Place the mayonnaise, garlic, white wine vinegar, and woerstechire sauce into a small jug and whisk to combine. Stir through the parmesan cheese. Then taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Prepare the croutons:
Cut your crusty bread into chunky cubes and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Melt your butter in the microwave then drizzle on top of the bread. Season with sea salt.
It is best to cook these last minute (only 5 minutes in a 160 C oven) so they stay crunchy to serve, so once your chicken and bacon is cooked and when you are assembling your salad, pop these in the oven and sprinkle them on top of your salad when they are warm and crunchy. I’ll remind you again when we get to that bit! 😉
Prepare the eggs:
Boil the eggs to your liking, I do mine medium soft so that the yolks are a bit runny, but cook them as you like them best.
Prepare the cold salad:
Pull apart the leaves of the iceberg lettuce, then wash and dry thoroughly. Finely cut the lettuce into thin strips. Place onto your serving plate.
On top of the lettuce, place your halved cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion and avocado.
Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
RIGHT! All your prep work is done. You can stop now and do whatever needs to be done until you are ready to cook the chicken and bacon. Then its just assembling!
Fry your bacon until it is nice and crispy, then drain on paper towel. Set aside.
Wipe the pan out (carefully!) with paper towel, add some olive oil and cook your chicken.
Time to assemble! Quickly pop your croutons in the oven at 160C for 5 minutes – go! go! go!
You’ve already done all the hard work earlier, so it is just the final (tastiest) touches:
Pop the bacon down on top of the salad leaves;
Then add the chicken;
Place sliced eggs randomly around the salad;
Add small dollops of dressing on top of the salad
*Beep-beep; Beep-beep* – What’s that? Its the croutons!
Whip them out the oven and sprinkle them on top of the salad.
Finally – sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese on top of the salad, and season with some cracked black pepper. ENJOY!!! 😋😋😋