Classic Caesar Salad
Chicken and bacon Caesar salad
Some benefits of chicken leftovers over the fresh roast chicken: it’s a versatile ingredient, there’s no fussing about white or dark meat and even the drumsticks get eaten – all meat stripped off bones and lumped together.
Pastilla is one wonderful option, featuring shredded chicken (or any other meat for that matter, perhaps except beef), spices, raisins and almonds wrapped in filo or brick pastry. You can mince your chicken meat and stuff things, from puff pastry to roasted peppers. Or make the chicken Caesar.
I will probably always struggle with the spelling of this great salad, embarrassing really considering it’s one of my top ever starters. ‘CEASAR’ keeps popping up, in spite of my sound, albeit long ago, Latin schooling. I’m only hoping that having written this will exorcise my spelling daemon (ha! working already, see?!).
Anyway – nice and not too anchovy dressing, best ever croutons, meaty fresh lettuce and good quality roast chicken. Just don’t cook diced chicken specially for the salad – that should only happen in Pizza Express.
- For two people:
- ½ small roast chicken, or what’s left after your roast
- 1 head of Cos or Romaine lettuce
- 3 rashers of streaky bacon or pancetta, chopped roughly
- 2-3 tbsp. butter
- 2 slices of white bread, cut into cubes
- a little grated Parmesan for the croutons plus some shavings, to go straight into the salad
- For the dressing:
- 1 anchovy fillet in oil, drained
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tsp mayonnaise
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 15g Parmesan, grated
- 2 tbsp. crème fraiche
- a little cold water
First prepare the dressing: chop up the garlic and the anchovies roughly and pound them into a paste in a mortar and pestle. You might need to add a little black pepper to grind it more easily. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix well and add enough water to have a spooning consistency.
Pick the chicken meat off the bone (make sure it’s at room temperature) and tear or cut into bite sized pieces.
Fry the bacon with a little butter until quite crispy. Remove from the pan with the slotted spoon, leaving the fat in. Add the rest of the butter, turn the heat up and toss in the bread cubes. Cook, turning and stirring, adding butter if necessary, until crisp and golden on all sides. Take off the heat, add the grated Parmesan and toss to coat the croutons. Drain on a paper towel.
Chop the lettuce and mix in a bowl (or individual serving bowls or plates) with a little of the dressing. Add the chicken pieces, sprinkle with bacon and Parmesan shavings, top with the croutons and serve with the extra dressing on the side.