Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tarragon Chicken Salad with Potato Croutons

This was a a salad that I created yesterday when I was really craving something that said "Spring". I naturally start turning towards fresher produce in the Spring as my body starts wanting lighter and fresher foods. The potato croutons are a treat and give the salad some "crunch" without the gluten. The vinaigrette is also delicious with a sweet and sour flavor that accompanies the varied flavours perfectly. The recipe makes enough for one large "family style" salad to share.

Here is how:
1. The Potato Croutons:

a. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and coat a baking sheet with 2 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil.

b. Mix in a medium bowl:
- 1 Tbs. of balsamic vinaigrette
- 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 tsp. fennel seeds
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. paprika (I used a Hungarian paprika)
- pinch of cayenne pepper

c. Slice 2 large Idaho potatoes very thin by hand or with a slicer/ food processor.

d. Add the potatoes to the seasoning mixture and toss to coat the potatoes well.

e. Spread the potatoes on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Turn them over and bake for about 10 minutes more (until the potatoes become crisp and the edges are browned).

2. The Salad:

a. With the oven still at 400 degrees take a 4-6 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast and place it in a baking dish.

b. Over the chicken pour 1/4 cup of white wine and 1 tsp. of dried or fresh tarragon.

c. Bake the chicken for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle.

d. Remove from the oven and cool the chicken. When cool, cube the chicken.

e. In a large salad bowl place a base of mixed baby salad greens (endive, red leaf, green leaf , bibb, Boston..whatever you have on hand). Use a few different varieties to taste the variety of flavors.

f. Next, add to the salad (in "sections")
- the tarragon chicken
- 1/2 cup grated carrots
- 1/2 cup sliced canned beets
- 1/2 cup sliced artichoke hearts (in water and drained)
- 2 diced hard boiled eggs
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- the potato croutons

3. The Dressing:

1. Whisk together in a bowl:
- 2. Tbs. minced shallots
- 1 tsp. honey
- juice from 1/2 a fresh lemon
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- fresh ground black pepper to taste

2. Drizzle some of the dressing on the salad and serve.

Note: This salad pairs well with a glass of well-chilled New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Here is to salads that pack in nutrition, elegance and flavor! xo

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