Chicken Breast Salad
A lovely chicken salad — pale slices of chicken arranged in a wheel and accented with red currants, served atop a salad which includes pieces of apple, candied carrot, raisins, and nuts. The chicken is poached very delicately, resting in hot stock until it cooks through. The ratio of hot stock to chicken breast must be high; too much meat will cool the stock too quickly. Check the temperature of the stock often; if it drops below 140 F, remove the breasts and reheat the stock, then replace the breasts to cook longer. Dried vegetable stock is a commercial product; look for vegetable “blends” in groceries, or in health food stores.
- Chicken Stock - 2 quarts
- Chicken Breasts - 2-1/4 pounds, trimmed
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil - 1/4 cup
- Balsamic Vinegar - 1 tablespoon
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Dried Vegetable Stock - 1 teaspoon
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Strained chicken poaching stock (above) - 1 tablespoon
- Red Tomatoes - 4 medium
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Cool Water - 1/2 cup
- Granny Smith - 1 (alt. Golden Delicious apple)
- Mixed Baby Greens - 8 ounces
- Celery - 1 stalk, sliced thin
- Candied Carrot Slices - 1/4 cup
- Candied Lime Zest - 1/8 cup
- Sultana Raisins - 1/4 cup
- Walnuts - 1/4 cup, toasted and chopped
- Pine Nuts - 1/4 cup, toasted
- Red Currants - 16 to 24
To prepare the chicken breasts: Heat the chicken stock to 175 F in a large saucepan. Add the chicken breasts and poach 3 to 4 minutes; remove the pan from the fire and set aside to rest for 20 minutes; the breasts will finish cooking during this time. If the breasts are still undercooked, remove the chicken from the stock, reheat, take off the fire, and put the chicken breasts back in the hot stock until done to taste.
To prepare the dressing: Whisk the ingredients together with a stick blender until emulsified. Set aside.
To prepare the garnishes: Peel each tomato in a continuous ribbon. Roll the skin back up to form a rose.
To prepare the salad: Combine the lemon juice and water in a small bowl and set aside. Cut the apple into thin slices and drop into the lemon water to prevent browning; remove and set aside. Toss the greens with the dressing.
To serve: Debone the chicken breasts and cut into thin slices. Toss the salad ingredients together and mound on each plate. Drizzle with dressing. Lay chicken slices over the salad in a radial pattern. Drizzle with more dressing. Garnish the outer end of each chicken slice with a red currant. Place a tomato skin rose in the center of each salad.