It will be the only salad you want to eat this summer guaranteed.
Summer chicken salad with poached cherries, courgettes, radishes and peas
- For the poached chicken (or could use roasted leftovers but poaching the chicken keeps the flesh delicate, fragrant and juicy):
- 1 medium sized good quality chicken
- A small bunch of thyme
- Handful of pea shoots
- 2 large carrots washed and trimmed
- 1 red onion, peeled and cut into quarters
- 4 celery stalks or half a head cut into quarters through the stem 2 bay leaves
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 1.5 - 2 litres water
- For the cherries:
- 1 cup red wine Valpollicella or Pinot noir 2 tbs red wine vinegar
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tbs whole black peppercorns
- 375 g cherries washed and patted dry in kitchen towel and de-stemmed
- 1 bunch of fresh radishes stems removed and washed thoroughly in cold water
- 350 g courgettes, rinsed
- 300 g peas, preferably freshly podded but can use frozen
- 1 head of dandelion or Pissenlit (the long slender yellow one) – leaves washed and dried
- A few mint leaves
- 1 whole red fresh chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped (optional)
- ½ lemon
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
To poach the chicken:
Put the chicken in a saucepan with the celery, carrots, onion, bay, thyme and peppercorns, cover with water and bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer.
Remove any scum as it comes to the surface with a spoon. After 45 - 60 minutes, remove the chicken from the pan onto a plate. (Strain the chicken stock in the pan and keep for another meal.)
Remove the skin from the chicken and pull off the chicken breasts, legs and thighs into rough strips. Discard the carcass.
To poach the cherries:
In a heavy bottomed medium sized saucepan, heat the wine, vinegar, sugar and peppercorns. bring to a boil and simmer until for 8 - 10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the juices reduce.
Add the cherries and stir together. Take off the heat and leave to marinate for half an hour.
Slice the courgettes as thinly as possible lengthways or on a mandolin. Heat a griddle and when it is smoking hot grill the courgettes in batches, turning them so they are seared on either side. Remove and place on a plate.
Top and tail the radishes and thinly slice.
Blanche the peas in boiling salted water for a minute or so or until just tender, drain and put in a bowl with a sprig of mint (keeping a few leaves back for later) and a clove of garlic cut in two. Season with salt and pepper and cover with extra virgin olive oil. Leave to marinate until you are ready to serve.
To make the salad:
Distribute the chicken amongst the plates, curl the courgettes amongst the chicken, spoon over the peas, discarding the mint and garlic, place a few of the dandelion leaves through the salad along with the sliced radishes, scatter a few of the cherries over using a slotted spoon and a scattering of lightly torn mint leaves.
Sprinkle the pea shoots and a little of the chopped chilli over the top if desired and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon, season with salt and pepper.
Ideally served warm to room temperature.
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