There's something furtive, slightly embarrassing, even shameful about it. Sort of like spanking the monkey to Sarah Palin videos or watching the goombah nitwits of Jersey Shore.
But we do it anyway, at lunch and even at dinner, unable to resist its base, carnal lure. Sure, we deny it, but the evidence is just too strong -- the garlic- and anchovy-perfumed breath, the flecks of green in our teeth, the crispy fried crumbs on our shirt.
I refer, of course, to the chicken caesar salad, the dish everyone loves to hate even as he's scarfing it up. Sure, it may be humiliating for a Person of Food to order a dish so... pedestrian when he could be eating stir-fried butterfly lips with foie gras foam and free-range edamame wafers. But there's something downright addictive about the rich, creamy dressing redolent of lemon, garlic, and anchovy, bathing crisp inner leaves of romaine lettuce and golden crunchy croutons, with a scattering of sweet-earthy Parmesan and the protein burst of simply grilled chicken.
This is the best chicken caesar salad you will ever eat. I shit you not.
The Best Damned Chicken Caesar Salad Ever, No Shit
1½ T. lemon juice
½ t. white wine vinegar
1 whole egg
1 large clove garlic, minced or grated on microplaner
1 anchovy filet
¼ C. each, olive oil and vegetable oil
Salt and white pepper to taste
2 heads romaine lettuce, washed and chopped, pale-green inner leaves
2 T. grated Parmesan
Couple of handfuls of croutons made from good crusty bread
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled and cut in one-inch dice
For dressing: Combine first five ingredients in blender, whiz up, and add
oils in thin stream until dressing thickens. (You want it looser than a
mayonnaise but thick enough to coat a spoon.) Add salt and pepper to
taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve: Throw everything but Parmesan in a big bowl and toss to coat
all with dressing. Turn out on plate, sprinkle with Parmesan, and know
you never have to buy a crappy chicken caesar salad at a restaurant