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Chicken Caesar salad

Serves 6

Preparation 10 minutes

cooking time 20 minutes

Text and Recipes Andy Harris
Food Styling Hannah Meppem
Wine Matches Peter Bourne
Photography William Meppem
Styling Sabine Schmitz

Ingredients

4 thick slices (about 200g) ciabatta bread, roughly torn
150ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 skinless chicken breasts
4 anchovy fillets, drained and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 eggs, beaten
100g parmesan, freshly grated
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 cos lettuce hearts, leaves separated, washed and dried

Recipe

1 Spread ciabatta bread on a baking tray. Drizzle with 1 tbsp of olive oil and season with some sea salt. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 10 minutes, turning the croutons a few times until they turn a golden brown colour on all sides. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

2 To cook chicken breasts, rub with ½ tbsp of olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat for a few minutes. When hot, add chicken breasts and cook for 5 minutes. Turn chicken breasts and cook for a further 5 minutes or until tender and juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife. Transfer to a wooden board and roughly chop into large bite-sized pieces.

3 To make Caesar salad dressing, combine anchovies and garlic in a bowl. Add red wine vinegar and remaining olive oil and season with a little sea salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Combine mixture well with a fork or small whisk.

4Place beaten eggs in another bowl and slowly add olive oil and vinegar mixture into eggs, whisking continuously. Add half grated parmesan and all lemon juice. And whisk dressing again.

5Place cos lettuce leaves in a large salad bowl. Pour over dressing and carefully toss lettuce leaves to coat.

6 To serve, divide lettuce leaves between 6 plates. Add croutons and chicken on top of leaves. Sprinkle over remaining parmesan and grind some fresh pepper over the top. Serve immediately.

Wine Match

2016 M. Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes du Rhône Blanc,
Rhône Valley, France, A$22

Although the Caesar salad was first prepared in Mexico (by Caesar Cardini) it’s since been transported to the Mediterranean with the addition of chicken. It’s the brash flavours of the salty anchovies in the vinaigrette that define the recipe, leaving the other ingredients in supporting roles. A riesling or (simple) sauvignon blanc would be overwhelmed while the structure of a chardonnay would be at odds with the salad. Enter this flavoursome, texturally rich yet energetic southern Rhône white. It’s made from grenache blanc, clairette and bourboulenc – each adding their individual character to the blend. Don’t over chill or you’ll scalp the Belleruche’s delicate flavours.