Okay – due to the OVERWHELMING response I got from the Eggs in Bread Bowls post, I felt I should expand the concept to the Bread Platter. It’s like a bread bowl, but it’s flat, you see, like a plate. A plate that you can eat! Awesome!
So, what does one serve on this edible plate? Well, it should be something with lots of drippy juices that doesn’t need to be cut. Juices because that way when the food’s gone, you have a nice juicy hunk of bread to eat. No cutting, because bread platters are not Chinette. They will not stand up to your steak knife. Of course, you can do like Mr. Gorilla did and cut it anyway, so you get a bite of bread in every mouthful, but most less-advanced folks tend to eat the food off of the plate, and then eat the plate. Kind of like a waffle bowl situation. Or a taco salad. Select your edible tableware of choice.
For this one, I made both the bread and the dressing myself. You need a very dense, heavy bread that won’t go to pieces. And fresh caesar dressing is always way better than bottled – this one is eggless, too, because raw chicken and raw egg is too high on the freak-out scale for one night. The whole recipe is very quick and easy, except for the bread. The bread can, however, be made the day before. Even the week before, if you freeze it. See? Awesome and convenient.
Chicken Caesar Salad on a Bread Platter
2 chicken leg quarters, skinless and boneless
1 large head Romaine lettuce
1 loaf bread (recipe below)
1 recipe Eggless Caesar dressing (recipe below)
Slice loaf of bread in half horizontally, and carefully scoop out the insides to form a hollow. It should look something like this:
Set it aside.
Pound the chicken as thin as you can get it without totally destroying it, and put it in a Ziploc bag. Add 1/4 cup of the dressing, and marinate for about an hour.
While that’s happening, wash and chop the lettuce, and put it all in a large bowl. Set aside.
Grill the chicken about 5 minutes on both sides, or until done. Discard the marinade.
Pour the remaining dressing and the chicken into the bowl with the salad. Toss to coat, and sprinkle with grated parmesan.
Eggless Caesar Dressing
5 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 can anchovy fillets, drained (flat packed, not rolled) – I know you don’t like anchovies, but you’ll like them in the dressing, I promise.
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Combine the mustard, Worcestershire, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, and anchovies in a blender or food processor, and pulse until smooth.
While blending, add the olive oil in a slow stream, and process until smooth.
Add the parmesan, and pulse until well mixed.
This dressing will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge, but you’ll eat it before then, I promise.
Bread for Bread Platter
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon cold water
In a large bowl, combine the warm water and the yeast. Let sit for about 10 minutes, or until frothy.
Add the sugar, oil, salt, and 1/2 of the flour – mix well.
Stir in remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. I use my oven with the light on – it seems to work well.
Punch down, cover, and let rise for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees – if you have a pizza stone, put it inside the oven as it heats.
Remove the stone from the oven (once it’s hot, of course), and sprinkle with cornmeal. Or, if you are not lucky enough to have a stone, grease a baking sheet and sprinkle it with cornmeal.
Form the dough into a ball and place it on the stone or sheet. Using a sharp knife, make 3 slashes in the top of the loaf, cover with the bowl, and let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled.
Mix the egg and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl. With a pastry brush, spread the mixture all over the loaf – don’t forget the sides!
Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Darlings, I know it looks like a lot of work, but it’s really not. You could use store-bought bread and dressing, really. I won’t be mad. But try the bread platter thing – I promise it will be one of your new favorite things!