Insight

Pilot recipes #4: classic chicken caesar salad

11th Jun, 04:42

Co-pilot editorial team X Joel Bennetts

What do you call a chicken with a piece of lettuce in its eye?

Chicken sees-a-salad.

Now that's out of the way, two things: one, we're sorry for that shit joke, and two: caesar salad is one of those things that most of us will order at a pub when we think we're being healthy, but seldom make at home.


Read next:
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Pilot recipes #2: minestrone soup
Pilot recipes #3: mushroom & parmesan risotto


Which is dumb, because it is as easy as it is delicious (if not a little prep-heavy), and if you're feeling super lazy, you can make a giant one and feed loads of people at once.

This recipe by local chef Joel Bennetts is fresh (but not too healthy), has not one, not two, but THREE different kinds of meat, and doesn't taste at all like rabbit food, making it an ideal salad for the type of person who hates salads.

Its components (minus the croutons) also make for a great sandwich on crust bread: go off king.

Chicken caesar salad

We're going to make this really easy by breaking down Joel's recipe into the five main components: croutons, meat, eggs, dressing, then assembly.

Croutons

First thing's first: get some sourdough bread (about two handfuls) and tear it up into small pieces—about the size of a walnut each. Liberally coat with good quality olive oil, a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and fang in the oven on a tray at 180C until golden brown (and crunchy).

Meat

Next up is the bacon and chicken.

You'll want a hot pan, about four rashers of bacon, and two chicken thighs (you can use breast, but the fattiness in the thighs is better for this dish).

Fry the bacon until crispy, remove and pat dry with paper towel, and then fry the chicken (extra points if you use the leftover bacon grease) on both sides until golden brown.

Set aside to rest (later on you're gonna chop the bacon into little bits and slice the chicken).

Eggs

Get two, stick them in boiling water for five minutes, and then remove and allow to come to room temperature.

Hot tip: gently stir the water so it goes round and round the saucepan for the first couple of minutes to ensure your yolks end up in the centre.

Dressing

Now to make the dressing.

Grab a bowl and throw in about 100g of quality mayo, six anchovies* (finely chopped), a tablespoon of the anchovy oil, one clove of garlic (crushed and finely chopped), juice of about half a lemon, a couple of tablespoons of water and salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk it all up and you are ready to...

Assemble

Take one head of baby cos lettuce (remove the leaves from the stem, rinse, pat dry and roughly chop), one handful of rocket, and chuck it in a big bowl.

Throw in your bacon pieces, sliced chicken, and croutons, and drizzle with your dressing followed by a touch of EVOO.

If you're so inclined, add some shaved parmesan, and top with a little chopped chives and parsley, then finally salt and pepper as desired.

This really is one of those dishes that is maximum prep, minimal assembly, but it's worth the effort. And it's a proud middle finger to anybody who proffers that you don't make friends with salad.

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*Look, we get it. Not everybody likes anchovies. But it's just the rules when making this salad. If you're not a fan, try white anchovies (they're much fresher and lighter in flavour) or if you're particularly averse to small salty fish, remember to add a a touch more salt to make up for their lacking.