The crunchy, salty, juicy Chicken Caesar Salad with crispy croutons makes an irresistible and ideal light lunch or starter to a formal dinner. What I fear in the restaurant versions is the high content of fat hidden in the salad.
I have re created a low fat version of the Classic Caesar Salad, not because I want to change the traditional recipe but I want to make it healthier and acceptable for more people; hence respecting the original while creating something more wholesome .
The salad is named after it’s creator, a restaurateur Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who owned restaurants in Mexico and the United States.
We are skipping anchovies, raw eggs and mayonnaise in this recipe. Anchovies because I simply can’t stand them and it’s believed that Caesar’s original recipe didn’t include anchovies anyways, it’s a later addition.
Raw eggs because I don’t feel comfortable with the idea for fear of infection by salmonella bacteria occasionally found in raw egg. Also I want to make my salad enjoyable for people with egg allergies.
Many variations of this salad exist; yogurt is sometimes substituted for the eggs to maintain a creamy texture and others call for using mayonnaise, oil and vinegar. Out of all these I’m not a big fan of slathering salads with mayonnaise so the easiest solution I find to making the dressing creamy is by adding thick yogurt to it. You can buy Greek yogurt or strain your regular plain yogurt.
You can also add some Parmesan cheese on top but I like to keep mine nice and simple with just a drizzle of olive oil on top.
For Low Fat Chicken Caesar Salad :
2 skinless chicken breast fillet
Two heads iceberg lettuce
10- 12 kalamata or black olives
2 slices of any bread
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon Coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
For Low Fat Caesar Dressing :
1+1/2 cup thick plain yogurt/Greek yogurt
I tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and black pepper to taste
This Is What You Do :
Beat the chicken breasts in thick parts with a kitchen hammer or anything blunt and heavy to ensure quick and even cooking.
Rub them with mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Leave to marinate for ten minutes while you get the other ingredients ready.
Wash and roughly year the iceberg leaves.
Pat them dry and set aside.
If using olives in brine, wash them too to remove extra salt.
Remove the crust from bread slices. Cut them into four equal squares to give you 24 small squares.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a non stick frying pan on medium low heat. Coat the pan with oil. Toast the bread pieces on both sides, a few at a time, till golden and crisp. Don’t let them burn.
Mix all the dressing ingredients in a bowl. The less watery the yogurt, the creamier your dressing will be. Make sure to strain the yogurt if it has liquid in it. Keep the dressing refrigerated while the chicken is being grilled.
Lightly grease and heat a grill, skillet or heavy frying pan.
Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place on the grill till charred on one side, almost 2-3 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side. Leave to rest for 5-10 minutes.
To assemble, spread the leaves in a big dish. Top with olives and pour the dressing over them. Slice and serve the chicken breasts over the leaves and the scatter the croutons all over the dish.