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Roasted Chicken Caesar Salad

chicken caesar 1

Having grown up in generation Earls, I’ve always been a fan of the chicken Caesar.

Even so, it’s not the sort of thing I generally make at home. But I saw a technique years ago in which chicken was roasted atop chunks of bread to produce croutons infused with chicken drippings – which is essentially those crispy bits of stuffing you pick at and eat yourself as the turkey comes out of the oven, which is the very best part of Thanksgiving dinner. And you wind up with a whole sheet of it.

So in this salad, which I learned from one J.O., you roast the chicken and the croutons together, which makes sense time-wise but also makes them spectacularly delicious, then lay a few strips of bacon over the lot to up the ante, pull and chop up the lot and scatter it over a platter of crunchy romaine, then douse it all in garlicky dressing and Parmesan. A proper Caesar salad it is.

Rather than set this up as a recipe per se, I’m going to walk you through how I did it, because measurements here aren’t too important.

chicken caesar 2

I used chicken thighs – much more flavourful than breasts – but J used chicken drumsticks, which I figured wouldn’t be meaty enough. On the upside, they do cook through a little more quickly.

Preheat your oven to 400F. Get a big, rimmed baking sheet and spread out cubes of good crusty bread, like ciabatta. Add chicken thighs to the pan and drizzle everything generously with olive oil. Toss it about with your hands to coat everything, then spread out the bread cubes and place the chicken on top. If you like, tuck in a few sprigs of rosemary.

Bake for about 40 minutes, taking the pan out and rearranging everything at some point if you feel like it, and then lay a few strips of bacon over everything and return the pan to the oven for 10 more minutes or so, until everything is nicely crisped up and the chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile, fill a large platter (or as many plates as you have people eating) with torn or chopped Romaine (I added a few chopped leaves of kale too), and mix up a Caesar dressing: I like to do this by dolling up some good mayo with lemon juice, garlic, a squeeze of anchovy paste if you’re into it, and plenty of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and black pepper. Top the lettuce with torn or chopped chicken, bacon and croutons, and drizzle with creamy dressing. Eat outside, if it’s not raining.

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9 comments on “Roasted Chicken Caesar Salad

  1. Medeja
    July 7, 2015 at 2:57 am

    This salad looks so delicious! I would love a bite :)

  2. Lana
    July 7, 2015 at 8:15 am

    I am drooling at my desk and it’s only 10am. I LOVE Caesar salad with Chicken and this looks amazing. The crispy bits of stuffing in the turkey or chicken roast pan are MY favourite, too. Mmmm..

  3. Elaine
    July 7, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Oh man, “chicken bread” is one of the greatest things. Ever.

    I try to save up enough schmaltz during the cooler months so that I can approximate those croutons in the summer with a store-bought rotisserie chicken and without turning my apartment into an inferno, but it never fully reaches that partly-soggy-partly-crispy pinnacle that is CHICKEN BREAD.

  4. kickpleat
    July 7, 2015 at 11:28 am

    Okay, cooking the chicken over the bread just sounds amazing! I’ll try that soon when the weather turns a little bit cooler.

  5. Laurie from Richmond
    July 7, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    OH, why didn’t I think of this?! It’s so obvious to roast the chicken over the bread! I use chicken thighs, too, because of the flavour. Adding bacon at the end is genius. I must try this!
    Thank you, Julie :)

  6. DebbieM
    July 8, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Oh my, you had me at chicken roasted atop the croutons… What an amazing idea! Must try this asap.

  7. Sippitysup
    July 9, 2015 at 10:25 am

    That is a good idea. I’ve roasted potatoes with the chicken and loved the results and can see how great these croutons could be. GREG

  8. Julie
    July 13, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    CHICKEN BREAD!!

  9. Black Magic Love Spell in Hindi
    August 4, 2015 at 7:15 am

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