4 portions. Approximate cost: £11.40, 

Skill level: Easy to Medium (requires pestle and mortar),  

Total cooking time: 90 minutes, 

  • Prep time: 30 mins,   
  • Cooking time: 1 hour,  

Equipment used: Roasting tray, pestle & mortar, large mixing bowl, cheese grater, 

Original recipe online: Jamie’s Proper chicken Caesar salad

 

I really like Jamie’s take on a classic chicken Caesar salad.  Instead of baking the croutons separately in the oven, these are wedged in under the chicken legs and roasted together, allowing the chicken juices to soak through. You end up with a mixture of  very crunchy and softer, almost soggy croutons,  both packed full of flavour.

Jamie also advocates using chicken legs which I am a big fan of – as well as tasting amazing these are significantly cheaper than buying the equivalent weight of chicken breasts.

 

To prep / cook:

(Original recipe in bold font)

Start with the chicken and croutons:

Pre-heat the oven to 200 C / 400 F / Gas mark 6.

1: Pick and roughly chop the rosemary leaves. Add half to a large mixing bowl. Set the other half aside.

2: Remove the skin off your chicken legs – scissors are easier for this than knives. Don’t worry about being neat. Put these to one side.

3: Tear the ciabatta into thumb sized pieces – I like to keep the pieces more uniform so opted to slice the bread into slices and then cut these into relatively equal sized chunks.

4: Add these to the mixing bowl containing the rosemary, add salt pepper and a lug of decent olive oil and give everything a good mix before transferring the bread to a large baking tray.

5: In to the now empty bowl add the other half of the rosemary, some more salt and pepper and another drizzle of olive oil. Taking one chicken leg at a time, coat the chicken with the oil and seasoning by rubbing it round the sides of the bowl – no waste here.

6: Place the chicken legs and the pieces of torn-up bread into a snug-fitting flat baking tray.  Take care to compact this all together so that the chicken is covering the majority of the croutons, otherwise these can dry out.

7. Pop the tray into your preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is nicely cooked (you can make your dressing while you wait). 

After the 45 minutes is up, take the tray out of the oven and drape the pancetta or bacon over the chicken and croutons. Put the tray back in the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes for everything to crisp up – your chicken legs are ready when you can pinch the meat off the bone easily. 

When they’re cooked, remove the tray from the oven and leave to one side for the chicken to cool down slightly (you may want to cover this with a tea towel).

 

To make your sauce:

Peel the garlic. Finely grate the Parmesan and drain the anchovies. Pound the garlic and anchovy fillets in a pestle and mortar until you have a pulp.

To avoid end lumps of garlic, literally pound the mixture as well as mixing round and round, you’ll know you’re doing it right if you make a lot of noise! If you want to leave this out, add another couple of anchovies instead. 

When you’re content there are no lumps, add the Parmesan, Greek yogurt and lemon juice. Pour in three times as much extra virgin olive oil as lemon juice. Whisk well and season your dressing to taste.  I added more lemon juice after this and even a little bit more yoghurt so whatever works for you. You do want the flavour to be quite intense as you’ll only be using a little to coat a lot of leaves.

 

To assemble:

Once the chicken is cool enough to handle shred the chicken using either your hands or two forks and cut the pancetta (again using the trusty kitchen scissors). Have a quick sort through the croutons left on the baking tray – if some are a bit too soggy for your liking, then remove those which are okay and wake the tray under the grill for a couple of minutes to firm the rest up (I personally prefer them more brittle whereas my husband likes them proper soggy).

To assemble your salad, add sliced lettuce, spinach and rocket to a big mixing bowl (I used the same bowl I used for the bread and chicken having of course washed it up in the interim).

Add a good dollop of your Caesar dressing and mix it into the leaves – If more is required, add more, otherwise leave it in the middle of the table for you and others to add to their plate as they wish.

To plate up add a big handful of leaves to the centre of your plate, scatter chicken and croutons on top and round the side and top with grated parmesan.

 

Ingredients:

All prices from Sainsbury’s, June 2017, unless otherwise stated

  • 4 x free range, organic chicken legs (bone in, you will need to remove the skin) (£7 from the local butchers)
  • 1 ciabatta loaf – about 3 quarters needed (£1.40)
  • 6 slides of pancetta (£1.20 from the butchers)
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1 small garlic clove (or half a big one)
  • lots of rosemary – I used 5 small sprigs
  • 30g Parmesan cheese, grated (plus extra shavings)
  • 1 large romaine lettuce (50p)
  • a big handful of rocket (£1 for the bag, less than half used here, so 50p)
  • 2 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt (50p for a small pot)
  • 1 lemon (30p)

 

Check out other Jamie Oliver recipes