For many years, the Caesar has been one of the world’s classic salads. But as a chicken burger on the braai, we are giving this flavour combination the chance to reach its full potential. First, a braaied chicken breast fillet is superior to any other version of that meat, and secondly, a roll toasted on the coals of a wood fire is clearly going to trump any crouton prepared in a kitchen. The sauce is very easy to make but to do it properly you need a pestle and mortar. If you still don’t have this piece of essential culinary equipment, buy it now. You will use it to work the garlic, capers and anchovy fillets into a smooth paste which forms the cornerstone of flavours for the sauce.
WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)
- 4 chicken breast fillets
- 4 crisp hamburger rolls
- 3 tots olive oil (for coating the chicken and spreading on the rolls)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 anchovy fillets
- 1 tsp capers (drained)
- ½ cup mayonnaise (I prefer French-style)
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper
- 1 head romaine lettuce (also known as cos lettuce – torn apart and washed; if you can’t find one, use normal lettuce)
- 3 tots Parmesan cheese (grated or shaved)
WHAT TO DO:
- Make the sauce: Put the garlic, anchovies and capers in your pestle and mortar and grind into a smooth paste. Now add the mayonnaise, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well until everything is properly combined.
- Prepare and braai the chicken breast fillets: Place each chicken breast fillet flat on a chopping board and lightly pound the thick side with a meat mallet, wine bottle, rolling pin, side of a meat cleaver or any other item of sufficient weight and size. You want the whole fillet more uniform in thickness and this step will make the meat easier to braai, better looking on your burger and softer to bite. Spice each chicken fillet with salt and pepper or your favourite braai salt. Either brush each one with oil or simply pour a bit of oil onto them and toss the fillets around until all are coated. Now braai the meat for about 6 to 10 minutes until it is done. The nice thing about chicken breast fillets is that you can actually see the meat colour changing from raw to ready on the braai.
- Prepare and braai the rolls: Neatly slice each roll in half with a bread knife and paint or spread or drip all 8 insides with olive oil. During the final few minutes of the chicken braai, toast the insides of the rolls on your grid over the coals. The attentive braaier will correctly guess that these rolls are taking the place of croutons in the version of Caesar salad served by restaurant-type establishments.
- Assemble the burgers: Bottom half of fire-toasted roll, lettuce, braaied chicken breast, sauce, Parmesan shavings, top half of fire-toasted roll.