Chiltern Firehouse's Firehouse Caesar Salad Recipe

Try this tasty caesar salad recipe from the new Chiltern Firehouse cookbook

Chiltern Firehouse's Firehouse caesar salad. Picture / Peden & Munk

FIREHOUSE CAESAR SALAD RECIPE FROM CHILTERN FIREHOUSE
Serves 4 as a main course, or 4-6 as a starter

INGREDIENTS
4 romaine lettuce hearts, cut into bite sized pieces
200g Parmesan cheese, sliced into fine shavings
8 fillets Ortiz anchovies, halved lengthways, or other brand of good quality anchovy fillets in oil

For the bread tuiles:
1 day-old country loaf or sourdough loaf
Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing

For the caesar dressing:
1½ cloves garlic, green germ removed and cloves very thinly sliced with a microplane grater or a small, sharp knife
5 fillets Ortiz anchovies, or other brand of good quality anchovy fillets in oil
2 free range egg yolks
50ml red wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
240ml grapeseed oil
75g Parmesan cheese, thinly sliced with a microplane grater or mandolin
Juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 drops Tabasco sauce
Pinch table salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the crispy chicken skin:
Chicken skin from 1 whole free range chicken (ask your butcher, or buy 4 chicken breasts with the skin on, remove the skin and freeze the breasts to use another time)

For the lettuce emulsion:
240g Little Gem lettuce, green leaves only
1½ tsp Dijon mustard
200ml grapeseed oil
100ml cold water
Table salt

READ: Meet Andre Balazs, the Man Behind the Chiltern Firehouse Hotel

METHOD
Make the bread tuiles:

1. Preheat the oven to 160C.

2. Cut 8-12 very thin slices of bread from the loaf, so you have 2 slices per person.

3. Place on a baking sheet, brush with extra virgin olive oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper.

4. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and crispy, then remove from the oven, break into bite sized pieces and set aside. Keep the oven on.

5. Place the garlic, anchovies, egg yolks, red wine vinegar and mustard in a blender or the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. While the motor is still running, slowly drizzle in the grapeseed oil to create an emulsion.

6. Transfer the dressing to a bowl, whisk in the remaining ingredients, check the seasoning and set aside.

Make the crispy chicken skin:
1. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

2. Scrape the excess fat from the chicken skins. Place the skins on the parchment, lying them flat over the whole tray in two layers. Place another piece of baking parchment on top with another baking tray on top of that.

3. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and crisp, then remove from the oven, remove the top tray and parchment on the skins, and set aside.

Make the lettuce emulsion:
1. Blanch the lettuce leaves in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 2 seconds then refresh in a bowl of ice cold water.

2. Drain well, patting off any excess water with kitchen paper.

3. Place the lettuce, a pinch of salt and the mustard in the bowl of a food processor and blend on high speed until it forms a smooth purée, then reduce the speed and slowly drizzle in the oil and water, a little of each at a time, to create an emulsion. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl and set aside.

Serve:
1. Toss the romaine lettuce in the caesar dressing until the leaves are evenly covered.

2. Spoon a small amount of the lettuce emulsion into the bottom of 4-6 serving bowls, enough to cover the bottom of each. Then layer up the dressed leaves, the Parmesan shavings, bread tuiles, crispy chicken skin and anchovies so that they are well distributed through the salad. Finish with another layer of all the elements over the top.

• Reproduced with permission from Chiltern Firehouse: The Cookbook by Andre Balazs and Nuno Mendes. Published by Preface Publishing (Penguin Random House NZ). RRP $100. Text © Andre Balazs and Nuno Mendes, 2016. Photographs © Peden & Munk

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