Sunday, March 2, 2014

Welcome Home Fern Chicken Caesar

Fern said he'd eaten fish every day in Hawaii so I knew he wouldn't want a big slab of red meat. I considered fish but the only thing fresh right now is snapper or sole, it's too bad this town seems to be too small to support a fish monger. So I decided chicken with a salad would be best. We haven't had Caesar Salad since I learned how to make a vinaigrette. It seems odd that I learned how to make mayonnaise before whisking oil and vinegar together, but I tend to learn things to meet an immediate need. So Caesar it was.

Caesar Salad Dressing

1 egg yolk
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive/canola oil

Whisk the oil into the egg yolk 1/2 tsp at a time. Adding it faster will break it. I find pure olive oil too strong a flavour. Rice bran oil tastes better than canola but try your favourite.

1-3 tablespoons lemon juice

Tasting is important here to get the acid level correct.

2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 tsp salt
black pepper
anchovy fillet

I've been using a few drops of chinese fish sauce instead of anchovy fillet but I've never compared the two flavours to see if they are interchangeable. Fern says not but anchovy was the main ingredient in garum, a Roman fish sauce. Experiment is called for.

Did you catch what I forgot? Worcestershire sauce, I completely forgot it. Didn't seem to matter too much.

For the croutons I bought a stale multi grain baguette, sliced it up and put it in the oven at about 150ºF to dry out. Then I blended half of it for crumbs and cubed up the other half into croutons. I then fried the croutons with oil, salt, pepper and garlic to get a sear on them. Brown not black.

Since I was going to use an egg yolk for the salad dressing I whisked up a small egg and the white to coat the chicken. Again this time I put the seasoning in the egg.  Some of the egg was wasted so I compensated by putting more salt, pepper, cayenne and cumin than the breasts needed. It worked, the seasoning was about right. I did mess up by putting a breast in the egg before the flour. It wasn't entirely coated so I put it in the flour then again dipped it in the egg and finally the bread crumbs.  Fern complained his coating wasn't crisp so it was a mistake to do that.  I should have rinsed and dried the chicken then put it in the flour. Fail and learn. Too bad it ended up on Fern's plate, I try to give him the best one but this time I didn't catch the error.

I baked the chicken breasts at 350ºF for 30 minutes.

I grated parmesan cheese for the salad which was tossed in the dressing before adding the croutons and cheese. I put a squirt of mayonnaise with my chicken. It was a nice meal and skipping the starch helps control my weight.

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