I once went through a phase of sampling chicken Caesar salad in most restaurants I went to – I was travelling along the East Coast of US and Canada, eating out most nights, and most nights it would be CCS for a starter. Or for a main if I was less hungry. They know what they’re doing in America with CCS – after all it was invented there.
My research was on the whole rather satisfying – with one or two exceptions of the chicken bland and pale, cut into perfect geometric cubes. The dressing would usually be smooth, slightly fishy and very Parmesany. The croutons were generally made of bread*.
It is one of those dishes you kind of forget about and then when put in front of you, well prepared, turns out to be one of the strong favourites. I like classic – with freshly roasted chicken (although God knows it’s usually made with leftover roast, the way Caesar Cardini first made it in 1920s), delicious buttery croutons and lots of Parmesan. But I’ve decided to do a deconstructed salad (don’t you just love the concept?) where the bread is hugging the chicken rather than lying side by side indifferently.
Purists and critics might comment that it’s a Chicken Nugget Salad, not Caesar. So be it. Damn tasty. Might be a hit with kids if you stick to that name.
*Though I’ve seen it made with brioche croutons, chickpeas and even pasta. Now I’m all for experimenting, as below will show, but – NO. Chickpeas have no place in CCS. Neither has kale instead of lettuce – bleurghh.