I put this amazing dinner on my Instagram and people were going wild. I knew I had to put the recipe in my next blog. I was so happy. I had been craving chicken Caesar salad like I got years ago when I used to go to a restaurant, we'll before I started eating all my food sourced from local farms, and before the 7 years eating all raw vegan. So the last time I ate a chicken Caesar was at least 12 years ago! I used to really like them. Just a quick note: In 1996 I went on a low carb diet (Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution) to help have better blood sugars, 7 years on that program then 7 years on raw vegan. Then in 2010, I started eating all food sourced from local farms, so any recipes on my site are very low carb recipes with produce and meats and eggs with some dairy, mostly raw butter from local farms.
Recipe for Chicken Caesar Salad Luncheon:
Boneless Chicken Breasts, I went to our butcher, Maine Meat or MEat in Kittery Maine. Jared, the butcher buys whole animals from farmers within 100 miles of his shop. So, I bought 4 boneless chicken breasts to serve 5 people. You will want 4-5 ounces per person.
For marinade: 1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tea spoon freshly ground pepper
1 tea spoon chili garlic seasoning
Juice of 1 lime
Himalayan salt 1/2 teaspoon
2-3 farm or garden fresh eggplant, here in Maine eggplant are ready toward the end of the growing season, in September or October. It is challenging to wait for them but so worth it. The difference between an out of season grocery store eggplant and an eggplant fresh from the garden is astronomical! A garden fresh eggplant has none of the bitterness and is quite subtle in flavor, perfect for masquerading as a French fry.
About 2 cups of bacon fat, really! We eat bacon every morning and feed bacon to our AirBNB guests. We collect a lot of bacon fat, which we store in gallon containers in our fridge.
Artisanal Parmesan cheese, sometimes you can find hard cheese like a sheep milk Romano from a local dairy farm. I bought my Parmesan from MEat and it is from Spain or Italy and is a good artisanal cheese, do your best with this one.
1 cup olive oil
2Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, here in Maine we are lucky enough to be able to buy ACV straight from a farmer, I haven't bought mine yet so I used Braggs ACV
1 farm fresh or backyard egg
4 eggs, secret ingredient, hard cooked eggs in the dressing, place eggs in small pan, cover with water, bring to boil, turn off heat, covered and leave 10 minutes, then immediately flush and fill with cold water from the tap.
1 Tablespoon organic Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
2 Tablespoons Red Boat Fish Sauce
3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Lettuce. Caesar salad is traditionally Romaine. But when eating locavore, I buy the best lettuce from a local farmer. I bought 2 gorgeous heads of green leaf lettuce, it was uber fresh and did very well as a Romaine look-a-like in my Caesar Salad. Nell from Misty Brook Farm in Albion Maine grew this beautiful, giant lettuce. I Love knowing my farmers!
Fresh tomatoes. Yes we are still getting tomatoes from our own gardens and local farms in early October! I had these adorable little long skinny heirloom tomatoes which I had just bought from Touching Earth Farm at the Kittery Framers Market. These tomatoes were perfect for slicing coins into the salad. You can use any fresh tomatoes you can find and use your judgement about how much to use. If you can't find fresh garden tomatoes, leave them out. Traditional Caesar salad doesn't have tomatoes anyway.
A small red onion if desired
2 whole farm garlic bulbs, I am once again thanking Nell from Misty Brook Farm for growing these beautiful purple garlic. Picture of my painting.
Now, the process:
The night before your luncheon, mix up the ingredients for the marinade in a 9x11" glass pan. Put the chicken breast in the pan and turn over a couple to times to coat well with marinade. Cover with something and put in the fridge.
About 2 or 1 1/2 hours before the luncheon:
First, make the dressing.
In the blender:
Place the egg, Dijon mustard, salt, vinegar in the blender and turn it on.
Measure 1 cup olive oil, while blender in on pour oil slowly until you have thick mayo.
Stop blender, add hard cooked eggs, Fish sauce, turn on blender . Voila, you've just made amazing Caesar dressing!
Turn on and preheat your grill, when preheated, re-coat the chicken with the marinade, and place on hot grill. While cooking, brush more marinade on the chicken, turn when cooked on 1 side and grill until cooked through. Take off the grill, place on platter.
While the chicken is grilling, wash the lettuce and let the water drain off. Stack several leaves, roll in a bunch and slice with sharp knife. Slice or chop the tomatoes you have chosen or not and slice very thin semi-circles of red onion.
Heat bacon fat in a large cast iron skillet. While it is melting and heating, slice the eggplant into fry shapes. When the bacon fat is hot place the eggplant slices carefully in the pan, put in just enough to cover the bottom. Cook the fries just till they are brown almost till burning. Then take the fries out a and place on platter. Then cook another batch, until you have enough.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until well-coated coated and mix thoroughly.
Make the garlic croutons:
Peel all the garlic, slice and cook in small cast iron skillet In a few Tablespoons bacon fat. When browned, take out and place in bowl to cool.
Serve Caesar salad onto single serving platters. Slice chicken breasts and carefully place slices in a row, like the picture. Grate Parmesan onto each salad, add fresh ground black pepper if desired. Place a finger full of garlic croutons on top of each salad.
Salt the eggplant fries, then serve onto each platter.
Yay! Picture perfect!