June 28th, 2010

Chicken Caesar Salad

This is no ordinary chicken Caesar salad, no no, it’s  the British Larder way with home grown baby gem lettuce and all.

As you know by now I’m not quite normal and find it hard to do things the standard way, there has to be a twist somewhere along the line. Perhaps I’m putting too much pressure on myself to be slightly different or perhaps it just comes naturally.

Mr.P and I enjoy eating a good chicken Caesar salad as it is satisfying and has lots of different textures and does not leave you feeling heavy and bloated.

I made this particular dish into a portion big enough for a main coarse but if you wish you can  make a smaller amount and serve  as a starter.

It’s not always about the gimmicks and twists  that make a great dish but it’s also about good quality ingredients that are to be enjoyed when in season. These baby gem lettuces are from my small kitchen garden and this year I had better success as I introduced kolhrabi, a member of the brassicas. This was planted next to the lettuces and this helped to minimise  the pest problems which allowed us to enjoy a lovely harvest of baby gems. The chicken is from a farm near Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, I go specially to the Snape farmers market to buy these chickens as they are plump and delicious.

These Sutton Hoo Chickens are very big, the average weight is 2kg. This is enough to make stock from the bones and at least two meals for the two of us from the legs and breast or alternatively its sufficient for four people. I roasted the legs, flaked the meat down and then made the small pots of chicken. It’s fun and adds that extra texture and enjoyment into eating the dish. The Caesar dressing and Parmesan cheese also found itself revamped into a mousse textured foam, I served that in a small glass jar on the plate.

It’s great fun, gets a wow at the dinner table and would also make a great dish to take along on a picnic.

The Chicken

  • 2kg Sutton Hoo free range chicken

Remove the two legs and breast.

Use the legs for the potted chicken and the breast needs to be char-grilled or fried in a griddle pan when you are ready to serve the dish.

Parmesan Foam

  • 300ml water
  • 5 white peppercorns
  • 10 whole coriander seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • 1tsp white wine vinegar
  • 100g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard
  • 100ml natural yoghurt
  • 2 leaves of gelatine

First infuse the water: Bring the water, peppercorns, coriander seeds, bay leaf, crushed garlic and vinegar to the boil in a small saucepan. Simmer for 2 -3 minutes, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.

Soak the gelatine in cold water, drain and squeeze to remove the excess water.

Pass the infused water through a fine sieve, keep the liquid and discard  the solids. Add the soaked gelatine to the liquid and melt over low heat, add the grated Parmesan. Blend until smooth, add the dijon mustard and yoghurt, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Pass the mixture through a fine sieve and transfer to a clean cream whipper and charge with two gas charges, refrigerate to set and chill.

Parsley Crumb

  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • 2 slices of stale white bread, crust removed

Place the parsley and crust- less bread in a blender and blend till fine bright green crumbs are formed.

Keep refrigerated until needed.

TIP: This crumb freezes well and make a great instant garnish for dishes such as shepherds pies.

Potted Chicken

  • 2 chicken legs
  • 2 banana shallots, finely diced
  • 10g goose or duck fat + extra to cover the pots
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C, season the chicken legs and place them on a roasting tray in the preheated oven for 35 - 40 minutes.

Cool and flake the meat from the bones, chop the skin if crisp and mix it through the chicken.

Place the chopped shallots, bay leaf, seasoning and half of the fat in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until transparent, cooked but not coloured.

Mix the cooked shallots, flaked chicken meat and the leaves of one of the thyme sprigs, divide the mixture between 4 small ramekins.

Melt the remaining fat, leave it to soft set,still spreadable but not runny, spoon the semi-set fat on top of the potted chicken. Garnish each pot with the leaves from the remaining sprig of thyme.

Refrigerate to set.

To Serve

  • 2 large chicken breast
  • 2 large free range hens eggs
  • 4 slices of fresh bread for toasting
  • 4 radishes
  • 2 baby gem lettuces
  • 1 recipe of Parsley crumb
  • 1 recipe of Parmesan Foam
  • 4 pots of the potted chicken

Char-grill the chicken breast or use a griddle pan to cook the chicken breast till cooked but moist.

Soft boil the eggs, cool, peel and cut each egg in half. Dip each half egg in the green crumb, spoon a small amount of the parsley crumb onto the plate and place the half soft boiled egg on top.

Toast the bread, wash the gem lettuce and slice the radishes. Arrange this on the plate along with the sliced cooked chicken breast, serve half a breast per person. Place a pot of potted chicken onto each plate.

Shake the cream whipper vigorously and squirt the foam into a small glass jar, place it on the plate and serve the chicken Caesar salad.

Serves 4


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12 Comments to “Chicken Caesar Salad”

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  1. [...] Chicken Caesar Salad recipe by Madalene Bonvini-Hamel; Chef, Photographer and Founder of The British… [...]

  2. Joanna says:

    I’m a salad lover as well. And I usually find myself gravitating towards the same old ingredients day in and day out – so I’m always looking for ways to give my salads a fresh twist.

    Found some beautiful dressings in Whole Foods the other day which are doing just that! They’re called Righteous All Natural salad dressings! Here’s their website: http://www.loverighteous.com

    They’ve brought the fun back into munching greens for me!

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