Caesar salad purists, look away now! This will not please you.
I’ll first admit that I fully stole the idea of this salad from the Instagram feed of Brickhouse Bakery. It’s lovely, don’t you think? The key to its success lies in the treatment of the sprouts because I’ve seen similar salads made entirely with sliced raw sprouts, which must be very taxing on the jaw, not to mention the stomach. So I blanch them, refresh under cold water and give them a good whizz around in the salad spinner before they even get near the other ingredients. This way you get nice soft shreds, rather than a mound of squeaky roughage. We’re not guinea pigs, after all.
The dressing is heavier on the anchovy than usual because I think the sprouts can take it and, well, I just really like anchovies. There’s also buttermilk which is just the best ingredient in salad dressings because it brings a milky lightness. That said, this is one for the big flavour lovers. Add croutons and chicken and you have yourself a fine lil lunch.
FYI the chicken + dressing + sprout combo is most excellent in a sandwich. What? Of course I made a sandwich.
Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad with Chicken Recipe
250g Brussels sprouts, finely sliced on a mandoline
3/4 head Romaine lettuce, cut into thick slices
8 anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon Parmesan grated (plus extra for shaving onto the salad)
3 tablespoons mayonnaise (I used light mayo, not gonna lie)
6 tablespoons buttermilk
1 tablespoon lemon juice (you may want a little more)
2 slices stale bread, crusts off and cut into cubes
4 chicken thighs, boned
Preheat the oven to 180C. Arrange the croutons on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season. Bake while you cook the chicken and salad, turning halfway through.
Season the chicken thighs and cook them – I flattened them out and grilled them for around 5 minutes each side.
Make the dressing by smooshing the garlic in a pestle and mortar, then adding the anchovies and smooshing them too. Mix in the mayo, buttermilk and Parmesan. Add lemon juice and taste. Does it need more? Might do, might not.
Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the spouts. When they come back to the boil, drain and refresh under cold water. Dry in a salad spinner or on kitchen paper. Mix with the Romaine lettuce and the dressing (I like to save a little dressing for the top so you get the full punch of it every so often).
Divide between two plates and shave over some Parmesan using a vegetable peeler (or grate it!). Slice the chicken thighs (check they’re cooked!) and add. Finish with the croutons and a grind of black pepper.