Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Poached Chicken Summer Salad

Poached Chicken Summer Salad

Happy new year! And welcome home to the heatwave. After a wonderful few weeks in New Zealand, we came back home to a 43 degree day... which meant dinner today pretty much had to be a salad. And no oven allowed- I don't think my house could handle any more heat! 
That leaves us with some tasty poached chicken to go on my favourite Summer salad of peaches, bocconcini and prosciutto.  With no prosciutto in the house, I have switched this up for some bacon. 

Here is the starting line up. 1 large chicken breast (or a small double as I have here), 3-4 slices of bacon, 100g bocconcini (soft mozzarella), 2 peaches (I have made this before with nectarines and also tastes great), and some green baby spinach leaves or rocket. And some walnuts- it needed some extra crunch.
 To start with the poaching, grab some thyme (or other herb) and slice up half an onion. You can also use just plain water, but it's always good to spice things up a little!
Throw these in a pot of cold water, along with the chicken breast over some heat until it starts to boil.
Then reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked. This took me around 25 minutes. 
 If you have a few slices of prosciutto- great! And skip this step. If not, find some bacon- I have 4 slices of yummy smoked bacon.
Cut it up into not too small chunks 
And pan fry with some olive oil until crispy (about 5-10 minutes). 
 And that's about the full extent of the cooking required for this dish! Onto the salad assembling.
 Grab 2 reasonably firm peaches and slice the full way around. This should allow you to twist the peach around the pip and break it cleanly in two. Slice it into thin wedges.
 Grab a nice long salad plate or dish, and scatter with your spinach or rocket.
 Scatter the peaches on top of the spinach, take out the bocconcini and slice into small pieces. I just halved these baby bocconcini pieces, and scatter them on top too.
Check that the chicken is done (the juices will run clear if you pierce it), and the bacon is crispy. Place the bacon on a piece of paper towel to drain away some of the oil.
Slice the chicken into strips
And if you have a few spare minutes, let it cool slightly before scattering over the salad 
 Now for the dressing- Just a quick vinaigrette- olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and my favourite- a squeeze of lemon juice. Add some salt and pepper to the mix and you're away.
 Sprinkle the dressing over the salad.
 And serve! With a little more pepper
And some walnuts. It needed a little extra crunch with the soft chicken. Well it's down to 38 degrees outside now- those tangy crunchy peaches almost make it seem just a few degrees less. 

Poached Chicken Summer Salad

1 large chicken breast (sprig of thyme and half a small diced onion for poaching if you like)
4 slices bacon 
150g baby spinach or rocket
2 firm peaches- thinly sliced
100g bocconcini (soft fresh mozzarella) 
50g walnuts chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1. Place thyme, onion and chicken breast into a pot of cold water.  Heat over stove until water is simmering. Continue to simmer until chicken is cooked (around 25 minutes, until the juices run clear)
2. Dice bacon up- and fry with some olive oil until just crisp.
3. Assemble salad- spinach, sliced peaches and bocconcini sliced into bite sized pieces.
4. Slice chicken once it is cooked. Cool slightly before adding to salad. 
5. Add bacon and walnuts to salad.
6. Mix dressing ingredients together, drizzle over salad and add some more pepper. Serve. Yum.

This makes enough for 2-3, (the 2 of us ate most of it up!).

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