The Caesar salad is as famous as it gets, but I bet the majority of people who’ve eaten it had no idea that it was dreamt up as a last minute dish, in a busy restaurant, in the heart of Mexico. Almost a hundred years ago, on the fourth of July, a creative Italian restaurateur whipped up this delicious dish from a rather barren kitchen that had been hit hard by the hordes of humans out celebrating this national holiday. In doing so, he created one of the tastiest and most satisfying salads ever. So tasty in fact that I ended up having this for lunch about four days in a row!
I’ve tried to be pretty faithful to the original recipe as it is just wonderful, but I also sought inspiration from the queen of Mexican cooking, Thomasina Miers and her Wahaca cookbook which is awesome! I love that place! To lower the carbs, I skipped the croutons and added toasted pine nuts for a little bite. This is such a satisfying paleo lunch and one that I’ll be coming back to again and again.
2 x skinless chicken breasts (the best quality you can afford)
2 tbsp olive oil for cooking
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
1 clove of garlic, finely crushed
1 tsp Dijon mustard
6 salted anchovies (sustainably caught) , finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
150ml Extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
30g parmesan (finely grate half then shave remaining half with peeler)
1 large romaine lettuce or 2 baby gems
A good handful of pine nuts (pop them in a dry pan and toast for a couple of minutes)
Season the chicken breast liberally with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in frying pan over a medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add chicken breasts and cook for two minutes each side, then continue turning each minute until cooked through (approx. ten minutes)*. Add butter for the final couple of minutes of cooking and baste thoroughly.
Whiz up the egg yolks, garlic, Dijon, anchovies and lime juice in a processor until you have a wet paste. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil in a steady stream until you have a very creamy dressing. Next, add Worcestershire sauce, grated parmesan and a good grind of black pepper, then blend until thick and creamy. Loosen with a splash of water if it seems overly thick.
Cut off the base of the lettuce to separate the leaves. Wash leaves and dry thoroughly. In a large bowl toss the lettuce leaves in the dressing, then carefully arrange on two plates. Top each plate with the toasted pine nuts, the shaved parmesan and freshly sliced chicken breast. Serve.
*Chicken breasts can vary a lot in size. If yours are fairly large, cook for 5 minutes on the hob, then finish in the oven at 220’c for about 8 minutes or until fully cooked (75’C on a kitchen thermometer).