I've been a fan of Jamie Oliver from the beginning and his new series, Jamie at Home, is his best one yet. I love his enthusiasm and his ability to make your average cook want to get in the kitchen. I have not watched a single episode of this new series and not tried one of the dishes for us or for the kids at create a cook, they all draw me in. His speedy rhubarb fool with greek yoghurt was a huge hit with both the 9-11 and the 11-13 group. I made his pork belly braise with rhubarb and it was amazing, tart and fruity with hot chili kicks and pork belly people...PORK BELLY, I ask how you can go wrong. We've made the asparagus and potato tart, his chocolate pots and the butternut squash muffins. He takes high quality ingredients and treats them simply and well. What more can you ask?
A few weeks ago I watched him make what he called his Proper Chicken Salad. Do note that he did not call this a Chicken Caesar Salad, even though it incorporates, anchovy, garlic, Parmesan, lemon, Romaine and croutons. Could it be because there couldn't possibly be a dish more maligned, bastardized, watered down and tragic, yet available on almost every restaurant menu, especially in the summer.
Michael Ruhlman railed against the evil that is Chicken Caesar Salad. And then he wisely suggested a desire for a Chicken Fried Pork Belly Confit Caesar, which come on, how can you not get behind pork belly?
I'm not going to give you the recipe here, a little googling of the title will find you that out there on the network that shan't be named. I will tell you that I have been making it with gorgeous Niman Ranch guanciale, ciabatta rolls from Whole Foods as my croutons and chicken thighs. The chicken thighs only take about 35 minutes or so. The chicken and pork products roast on top of the torn up ciabatta and some nice rosemary until the smell is too much to bear. Just imagine the crouton goodness that comes from that folks. I also sometimes cut the anchovy count in half depending on how strong my anchovy are, taste one first people!
Today we made it at create a cook with the 11+ kids. I assure you that EVERY ONE OF THEM ate the dressing and admitted that the COULD NOT taste anchovy. In fact, one of the boys could not stop devouring it out of the pan long enough to put the lid on and go to the park for break, it was that good.
I knew that I was making it for class today so I thought ahead and bought all the ingredients to have it for dinner. My chicken is cooling on the stove as we speak.
I implore you, if there is one recipe to try this summer, THIS IS IT. So so so damn good, and no Caesar required.
He: Tuna salad, his version. Jar of Ortiz tuna, Olivia Organics Spring mix, cucumber from the garden, red onion slices, tomato from the garden and some cole slaw
She: PROPER chicken salad. Damn right jamie, damn right.