When I left home and moved to the city I worked in cafes usually as a dish hand or food runner. Not only did I learn a lot about the service industry I learnt about different foods. One of the most popular dishes at the first place I worked in was Caesar salad. After working up the courage to finally try it with no anchovies of course, I was pleasantly surprised how much I loved it. I never thought you could have a salad with a creamy like sauce. Salads were always doused in vinegar – right.
After that day I had been converted to an uneducated country girl into someone who knew what a BLT, Caesar salad and a croque monsieur was. I would go out with friends for coffee and order what I thought was a sophisticated lunch. It’s much better than the hot chips and gravy from the carvery in Gympie that I was so fond of. Aioli became my new addiction. So when it came to the first time to make my own Caesar salad I was lucky to have plenty of dressing left over. Which I would get some hot chips from the local take-away to dunk in it – yum.
I found a recipe in a magazine years ago that I have now crafted into my version of Caesar dressing or I change it a little and make aioli. Roy decided to get a little fancy with our salad this time and wanted to make crispy buttermilk chicken like they do in the USA. I am happy with any help in the kitchen so we cooked this up together.
Buttermilk makes the chicken super white yet incredibly tender, just like at a fancy cafe. The panko crumbs in the oven make it super crunchy so serving it warm on top of the usual suspects in a Caesar, we were both pleasantly surprised. The recipe makes enough dressing for a few days worth of salads and keeps well in the fridge for up to two weeks.
What was the first dish when you left home that made you think more about food?
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 organic chicken breasts
- 1¼ cups panko crumbs
- 4 tbsp butter, melted
- 50cm breadstick
- 60g butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 3 rashes of bacon, cooked & sliced thinly
- Parmesan cheese, shaved
- 1 lge cos lettuce
- Soft boiled eggs, 1 per person (optional)
- 1 egg
- 2 anchovy fillets
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic – small
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese
- ¾ cup of olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Chicken: Combine the buttermilk, garlic, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Place the chicken into the mixture making sure it is well emerged and cover, refrigerate overnight*. Remove one piece of chicken from the mixture and allow the excess marinade drip off. Place the chicken into the panko crumbs and coat evenly. Place the chicken into a baking dish and drizzle the melted butter over the pieces and cook until golden and crispy about 40 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 180’c. Cut the bread stick into 4cm cubes. Melt the butter and add the garlic and olive oil mixing to combine. Pour the mixture over the bread and coat evenly and place on a baking tray. Cook until golden about 15mintues stirring occasionally.
- DRESSSING: Place the egg, anchovies, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon mustard and parmesan in a blender.* Whizz the mixture to combine making sure the parmesan is no longer chunky. Continue to mix and slowly add olive oil to mixture pouring a small thing stream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Construct the salad by placing the lettuce on to the plates and scattering over the bacon, croutons, egg, parmesan cheese and chicken. Top the salad with a generous drizzling of Caesar dressing.