Well folks a few years ago, it happened. After the disaster that Christmas dinner turned into, you’d think that I would have given up on the whole cooking business. But, I am not a quitter, so although it was not long before I was planning my next meal. Admittedly, I started with small lunches and less complicated evening meals, but there is no point trying to run before you can walk.
One of the highlights was a lovely Chicken Caesar Salad I made for Nick and me a couple of years ago.Nick enjoyed it and I was not only proud to have actually produced a complete meal without any problems, I was pleased that it was actually very tasty.
It would be wrong to talk about the experience of preparing and cooking this fine dish if I didn’t provide you with the recipe, so here you go!
4 x Organic or free range whole chicken legs
1 x Ciabatta bread (about 9 ounces) torn into small pieces
1 x Juiced lemon
1 x Heaped tablespoon of crème fraiche
2/3 x Heads of romaine lettuce, discard the outer leaves
3 x Ounces of fresh grated Parmesan, and some shaving kept for serving
4 x Anchovy fillets in olive oil, with the oil drained
1/4 x garlic clove peeled
12 x Thin slices of bacon or pancetta
3 x Sprigs of fresh rosemary, with the leaves picked and chopped roughly
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
First of all preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Next take the chicken legs and torn up pieces of bread into a snug roasting pan. Sprinkle the rosemary over the chicken and bread, drizzle the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Now mix everything in the roasting pan with your hands so it is all coated well and then lift the chicken so that it sits on top of the bread. This helps the bread to soak all the delicious chicken juices to give the absolutely best croutons. Pop the pan into your oven.
It should take around 45 minutes to cook the chicken perfectly. Take the pan out and place the bacon or pancetta over the croutons and chicken and put it back into the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes to crisp everything nicely. You know the chicken is ready when you can pinch the meat from the bone without any problem. When they are cooked, place the pan to the side to let it cool down a little.
Next use a pestle and mortar to pound together the anchovy fillets and garlic until you have a pulp. Put the pulp into a bowl and whisk it with lemon juice, crème fraiche, Parmesan and 3 times more extra-virgin olive oil than lemon juice and then season with the salt and pepper. Use your hands or two forks to pull the meat off the legs and tear it up roughly with the bacon and croutons. Wash the lettuce leaves and dry them, then tear them roughly and mix them with the rest of the ingredients and your salad is ready to serve with some of the Parmesan shavings on top.