Chicken Caesar salad may be the most popular salad in the USA. Some people like it with pasta, some with croutons, some with the works, and the low/no carb folks skip both. Some people like their chicken grilled, roasted or poached, or leftover rotisserie chicken; the variables are almost endless. Romaine is a must (please don’t use those boxed mixed greens, or baby romaine) you really need a crunchy and robust vehicle for that heavy dressing, which is essentially a mayonnaise flavored with tons of parmesan cheese and anchovy (if you like). If you’re not making this at home, it’s time to start.
Boxed salad mixes are so convenient! No washing, no drying, but for this you’re going to need your salad spinner. I use mine for drying any veggies I’m going to sauté so mine is fairly handy. My advice is to cut your Romaine before washing it. To cut it properly lay the lettuce on your cutting board, and cut off the very tips of the leaves, then make four long cuts, turning the head as you go, chop crosswise into bite sized (1-2″ pieces) then wash, and dry well. If you don’t have a salad spinner wash the lettuce, and drain in a colander, then put the cut lettuce into a pillowcase, and go outside and swing it in a wide circle, the centrifugal force will get the water off, and it’s kind of fun. (BTW, in a pillowcase is a great way to store washed lettuce in the fridge.)
For the creamiest dressing use a blender or a food processor, remember you are making mayonnaise. When I was in culinary school we made a great show of making a Caesar salad tableside, and it was a great salad, but to get a really good emulsion a motor is your friend. In one of my classes the chef had us make our mayonnaise fresh every day, in a bowl by hand. One day my arm was getting tired so I asked my partner to hold the bowl for me and the chef started screaming at us “Do you think when you’re working in a restaurant they will be paying two of you to make mayonnaise?” to which I responded “No, I think the dishwashers will be making it in a food processor” this, of course made him angry, but it was accurate. In the few restaurants where they actually make the mayonnaise that’s who makes it, and how.
If you are squeamish about raw egg, get organic eggs, and cook one in boiling water for 60-90 seconds, that’s what I did. It’s also worth it to make your croutons. For those, cube up some day old baguette or ciabatta, drizzle with some olive oil, salt and pepper and bake at 400ºF for ten to twelve minutes until they are golden brown. This salad should be as good or better than anything you get out!
|Prep time||10 minutes|
- 1 Large egg
- 1 lemon (juiced)
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 1 clove garlic (put through a press)
- 2-3 anchovies (mashed (optional))
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- salt and pepper