Thyme Chicken Caesar Salad

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As I am often scolded for not posting healthy enough recipes here is a salad! OK, it’s got bacon (which is optional) and parmesan but it’s still pretty healthy and is extremely yummy! My family love it and it’s really easy so everyone wins. I’ve tried any number of dressings for Caesar Salad, some of which include the tedious process of coddling eggs. Don’t bother. Use this recipe for dressing from Gordon Ramsay from his book Ultimate Home Cooking. Simple and delicious.

Feeds 4-6

6 free-range skinless, boneless chicken thighs, or 3 breasts if you prefer, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 sprigs bushy thyme, leaves picked, chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
Fresh ground salt and pepper
4 rashers smoked bacon, sliced into small pieces
1 loaf of sourdough or ciabatta or something rustic. Day-old bread is good.
Olive oil
3 romaine lettuces, or cos, or baby gem
Parmesan cheese, shaved

Dressing

2 free-range egg yolks
2 tsps Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tbsps sherry or red wine vinegar
Olive oil
80 gms good quality anchovy fillets
2 garlic cloves crushed and finely chopped
80 gms parmesan cheese, grated
Juice of 1 lemon

Method

Preheat oven to 180˚C
Prepare the bread. Cut into small chunks and put on a roasting or baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil mixing well. Add salt and pepper. Put into oven and bake until golden brown and crispy, about 20 minutes.

Make the dressing: put the egg yolks, mustard and vinegar in a bowl and whisk together. Slowly add olive oil. Difficult to say exactly how much as you need to keep pouring slowly while whisking until it’s emulsified. Probably about 200-300 ml, but in the end it depends on how much salad you are going to dress. It needs to be well covered. Chop the anchovies and garlic and mash into a paste and add to the dressing mixing in well. Stir in the parmesan cheese and then the lemon juice. If it’s a bit claggy add a splash of water.
Chop and wash the lettuce, dry and put into the largest serving bowl or deep dish you possess.

In another bowl mix the chopped chicken, thyme, garlic and salt and pepper.
Get a frying pan hot on a medium high heat and add a splash of olive oil and add the bacon. Cook for a few minutes until it starts to colour. Add the chicken and continue to cook, stirring until the chicken is done and any juices run clear, about 8 minutes.

Add about 3/4 of the dressing to the bowl of lettuce, mixing it in well. Add the croutons, mix them in and add the chicken and the rest of the dressing, mixing well. Garnish with some shaved parmesan.

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