Thursday, May 30, 2013

Paleo Bacon & Chicken Caesar Salad

I call my significant other the caveman in a rather tongue-in-cheek manner, as he is anything but. While he adores my paleo cooking and is conscious about his health and weight, he is NOT a poster child for the paleo lifestyle.

Case in point: in Newport this past weekend he ordered a caesar salad twice. And we're talking traditional caesar, with the croutons, cheese and all. He enjoyed his salads with bread from the table's basket and a little clam chowder to boot.

And then, of course, he felt kind of sick afterward! The man loves his caesar, though, particularly the whole anchovies on top. This one's for him (added bonus that it's a caesar salad I'm willing to eat too).

I owe the recipe to Health-Bent, whose Double Bacon Caesar I pinned on Pinterest a good while back. While you could certainly make the dressing with olive oil, a little good quality bacon fat really adds flavor. I used some thick and amazing bacon I get delivered fresh from Vermont, and do think that the quality of the meat makes a difference here.

As the recipe and tradition suggests, I did include Parmesan cheese. I think the salad would be tasty without, but if you do dairy at all I wouldn't skip it (and a little good quality cheese goes a long way!) While I like the flavor of anchovies in paste and dressing, I'm not a fan of them whole. The caveman did put some on top of his bowl, though, and was in heaven.
Paleo Bacon & Chicken Caesar Salad
adapted from Health-Bent

2 heads romaine lettuce
freshly shaved Parmesan cheese (optional)
3/4 lb. chicken breast (I marinated mine in some homemade pesto)
1/2 lb. nitrite-free bacon
anchovies, for garnish (optional)

1/2 cup bacon fat, liquid but not cooled
1 egg yolk
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 minced garlic cloves
handful freshly grated Parmesan (optional)
1 tsp. GF worcestershire sauce
1/2 anchovy fillet, finely chopped
salt & pepper, to taste

Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp; set bacon aside on paper towels and don't drain fat! Pour 1/2 cup of fat into a mason jar or sealable bowl/container. Leave enough in the skillet to cook your chicken. Cook chicken until no longer pink, then set aside as well.

For the dressing, add all remaining ingredients to the bacon fat. Seal and shake to incorporate. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

Put romaine leaves in a large bowl and top with shaved Parmesan and cooked bacon. Slice or chop chicken as desired and add to bowl. Top with dressing and toss to coat. Top with whole anchovies, if desired.