I’ve often mentioned that Caesar salad is an absolute favourite of mine, and how surprised I am that something which surely should be so simple, is often not very good when eating out – even in expensive restaurants. For various reasons, instead of roasting a chicken for dinner last night, I pot roast it. I think we all agreed that although we enjoyed it, it wasn’t really as good as a traditional roast, but it also meant I have some chicken left over which is in essence, poached. Not poached in an essence, of course, I mean essentially it was poached!
I have lettuce and chicken then despite me having eaten I couldn’t completely remember what else was needed. Anchovies! I had no anchovies, but I did have some very delicious Spanish sardine paste, I thought there might be Parma ham, well I had none of that, but something very similar, I had bread, I forgot about the eggs, and I had been bought a bottle of ready-made Caesar dressing. I mixed the lettuce with cubes of chicken, small pieces of ham and toasted the bread and spread it with the sardine paste and cut into very small squares, mixed everything, added the dressing, and sat down to enjoy it. I was really pleased because although it wasn’t quite authentic (but what actually is authentic with a much-loved recipe, dating back to 1924 and created by an Italian immigrant to Mexico? Everyone has their favourite twists!) – it tasted really good. The key, I think, was to cut the ingredients quite small – I don’t mean mince anything, but too often I only roughly chop a lettuce and then have to contend with big leaves. I didn’t use too much of any one ingredient added to the lettuce, and didn’t add too much sauce either.
My family are baffled why I like salad so much; there’s an infinite variety of combinations of different ingredients, vegetables of every colour, various proteins, carbs such as bread, rice or pasta, nuts seeds contrasting flavours, textures, chewiness or crunchiness I put almost everything in my salads – although I have learned not to add too many differed, ingredients! I’ve also learned that if there is a great combination, not to mess about by adding extras, usually the original combo, tried and tested is best!