Quick and Easy Chicken Caesar Salad

Did you have a roast chicken for sunday lunch? I bet it was tasty! But maybe you have some meat left on the carcass and you’re wondering what to do with it instead of feeding it to the dogs or throwing it in the bin? Well, let me help you out with my quick and easy “throw it together” recipe for an awesome caesar salad!

This is a great idea for a Monday evening and I go to it often when I am feeling my least inspired after the weekend and after facing down another challenging Monday! Make it with a ready made caesar dressing or push the boat out and make one from scratch…I’m not fussy, and neither should you! But when you do buy one, try to go with one that is a little less calorific – I go for the Lakeshore brand because there is a good amount of pepper in it which I think is really important in a good caesar dressing. If I am making one from scratch, I go every time to this recipe on the BBC Good Food website – never fails!

This recipe is designed for two, but it depends how much chicken you’ve got left over. Alternatively serve it up with some salad potatoes and some crusty bread to make it go a little further for four people.

Whatever chicken you can rescue from your carcass! Don’t forget the really tasty brown leg meat and you will be surprised how much meat can be recovered from the “back” of the chicken which is always tasty as it would have soaked up a lot of yummy cooking juices when you were roasting it!
Half a romaine lettuce.
Tomatoes (any kind will do) half or quartered into small chunks.
Couple of spring onions sliced.
Four slices of parma / serrano ham.
A small ciabatta (either baked or partially baked, but allow some time to bake off the bread in the oven if using part-baked bread).
Caesar dressing (the amount is up to you! I like everything well dressed but not smothered – you want to be able to taste everything!)
Smoked sea salt
Plenty of freshly cracked black pepper
Dried thyme
1 tbsp of olive oil.
If you are using part-baked bread, get that in the oven asap. I used one small ciabatta which takes about 8-10 mins to bake until crispy and golden.
Put on a frying pan, heat up the oil. When hot enough, put the parma/serrano ham onto gently fry. Don’t burn it; turn it and cook it for a couple of minutes each side. When it has cooked through, take it out of the pan and place onto a piece of clean kitchen towel then place another piece on top. This will soak up any excess oil and turn the ham into nice little crispy morsels. Leave the fat in the pan for later.
Check the bread, make sure it’s ok!
Slice the romaine lettuce, the spring onions and the tomatoes and place in a bowl with the chicken.
Cover with as much caesar dressing and you want and toss so that everything has been covered with the dressing. Add in another load of cracked pepper and toss again. Set aside.
By now the bread should be ready to take out of the oven. Take it out and while it is still piping hot place the pan back on the heat, add in a little more olive oil and throw in some smoked sea salt, cracked black pepper and the dried thyme.
While that’s warming up, cut the bread into giant crouton sized pieces. Add them to the frying pan and keep moving them around the pan so they pick up all the lovely bacony oil, herbs and spices in the pan. They will also colour better and will not burn.
Keep cooking the croutons until they have gone crispy and nicely coloured.
Turn off the heat.
Now, give the salad one last toss and share it out between two plates.
Uncover the ham, and start breaking into smaller pieces. Share the ham on the salad too.
Finally, create a small pile of the croutons on top of the salad in the centre and serve immediately.
Optional extra, add on a couple of marinaded anchovies that you can pick up from your local deli counter. Leave off if you are not an anchovy lover!
Sit down with a lovely glass of crisp white wine and…Enjoy!

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