You know when you watch a food program and you want to make that meal right away and you think you have all the ingredients and then realize you don’t? Well that happened when I watched Jamie Oliver make this unbelievable warm Chicken Caesar Salad. It looked like a dream!
Jamie only uses a quarter of a clove of garlic in his salad dressing (I need more garlic!) so right away I knew I was going to be changing the recipe in a big way… and I did. And you know what? It was still fantastic!
I had some leftover dill loaf that I cut up into croutons which I put into my Paula Deen casserole dish, along with four chicken thighs (store did not have chicken legs). I tossed everything in some olive oil, sprinkled with salt, pepper and garlic powder (I did not have any rosemary). I put the dish into a preheated 400F oven for 40 minutes and then topped with slices of bacon (I did not have pancetta) and put back in the oven for another 20 minutes but the bacon was not crisp enough. The croutons were starting to burn so I took everything out and cooked the bacon on its own until very crispy, the way I like it.
For the dressing, I really got creative. I did not have anchovies but I did have anchovy paste. In a small bowl I put 1-2 tbsp of anchovy paste with two crushes garlic cloves, 1 tbsp of mayonnaise, 1 tbsp of sour cream, juice of half a lemon, a few “glugs” of olive oil and lots and lots of Parmesan until it tasted like what I think of as “proper” Caesar salad dressing.
You get some greens, add the warm chicken, the croutons that are not soaking wet (some of them will be), crumble the bacon and add the dressing… delicious! Even thought it is freakin’ cold I am not ready to give up salads yet. Warm salads are extremely comforting and this one is a real winner.
I hope you see from this post that just because you do not have every ingredient a recipe calls for, you can still get creative and make it your own. Sometimes it may end up being even better than the original but please don’t tell Jamie Oliver that!