Take your classic Caesar salad. Packed with flavour, this favourite has stood the test of time since it popped up in the 70s. It's delicious in its own right, but Nando's has – along with other like-minded geniuses – proved that topping it with chicken just makes it even better. But that's not where the twists end. From switching over to southern-fried chicken like the guys at Eddie Rocket's Diner, to adding zesty lemon and garlic – a favourite at Chopped – you can't go wrong with a little chicken and a lot of imagination.
Crisp, fresh and dressed to impress
Classically, chicken Caesar salad is all about the crunch. With crisp romaine lettuce at its base, and golden croutons on top, everything in this hearty salad has real bite. Of course, perfectly cooked chicken is a must, as is freshly shaved parmesan.
But what really sets this dish off is its silky smooth and oh-so addictive dressing. Unapologetically bold, Caesar dressing, is a unique blend of lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce and plenty of black pepper. The result? A punchy sauce that clings to every bite, and keeps you coming back for more. And more.
So who's to thank for this lip-smacking luncheon?
All hail Caesar (Cardini)
Despite being good enough for royalty, the naming of this dish has nothing to do with the Roman ruler. Instead, its namesake is Caesar Cardini – an Italian restaurateur who worked in Mexico and the US. Rumour has it that after a 4th of July rush, Cardini was forced to make do with what he had, and the tossed salad that came about is the Caesar salad we know and love today.
But despite being nonchalantly thrown together, there's one thing Cardini insists on. No anchovies. The salty flavour instead comes entirely from the Worcestershire sauce, and in his opinion, it's only in his brother's salad, the Aviator, that anchovies should make an appearance.
Who are we to argue?
Try the classic version at every chicken-lover's paradise, Nando's. Simple but flavourful, it's perfect for lunches al-desko. And of course when it comes to that sumptuously grilled chicken you can go for anything from mild to mouth-wateringly spicy to suit your mood.
The Hail Caesar Tender Salad at Eddie Rocket's swaps out classic grilled chicken for their southern-fried specialty, Crisp romaine lettuce is topped with golden chicken, croutons and thick Caesar dressing before being sprinkled with parmesan shavings.
Finally for a fresh and feisty take on Cardini's classic, look no further than Chopped. Their Dubliner Caesar gives you a choice of leaves, and is topped with lemon and garlic-infused chicken. Not only that, but they finish off with sweet Dubliner cheese to turn this classic into an Irish masterpiece.
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