19 January 2013
chicken, grape & almond salad...
Yesterday was a crazy day. For starters it was 46 degrees. Celsius, not fahrenheit. I don't know what that is in fahrenheit, but it is off the scale in terms of hot. Hot enough to burn your feet on the sand. Hot enough to melt an ice block in 6 minutes flat. Hot enough the koalas at the zoo moved out of their enclosure because it was still 40ºC in the shade. IN THE SHADE. Poor koalas.
It was the kind of day when you close the blind and kick yourself for not installing air conditioning just for the day. The kind of day where the only possible reason you would have for going outside would be to go to the shop and buy watermelon. The kind of day where you don't dare turn the oven on and all you eat is anything cold. Like salad.
Like this salad. Cold and refreshing and totally delicious. The grapes totally make it. Don't skip on the grapes. Even if you're scared of fruit in salads. And the tarragon - the most sophisticated of the herbs. Anyone can just chuck in a bit of parsley, but tarragon definitely makes you look like you know what you're doing. Go on, I dare you to impress someone with your tarragon.
Also I'm just going to apologise in advance for having to pick watercress. I totally understand how tedious can be. It was the first job I had to do as an apprentice, picking bunch after bunch after bunch. Teeee-dious. But this is only a tiny bit and will take you no time at all. Or just bribe someone to do it for you. Younger sisters will do pretty much anything for a dollar. I promise.
Chicken, Grape and Almond Salad
recipe my own
3 medium chicken breasts
4 stalks celery
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs tarragon
1/2 cup whole almonds
1 tbs wholegrain mustard
juice of half a lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tarragon leaves, finely chopped
1/2 bunch watercress, picked
1 small bunch red grapes
In a medium pot add the chicken, 1 stalk of the celery, bay leaves and tarragon sprigs, and just cover with water. Bring gently to the boil, and bring down to a simmer immediately. Cook for a around 10 minutes, maybe a little less if they're smaller. Remove from the liquid and let rest and cool for a few minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC and toast the almonds on a baking tray for about 10 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven to cool, and roughly chop.
In the meantime make the dressing. In a small bowl whisk together the mustard and the lemon juice. Slowly pour in the olive oil, continually whisking so the dressing is well combined. Add in the chopped tarragon, and set aside.
Gently shred the chicken, and while it's still slightly warm toss it with a tablespoon of the dressing and season with salt. Finely slice the celery on a diagonal, and halve the grapes lengthways.
In a large bowl combine the shredded chicken, almonds, grapes, celery and watercress. Season well with salt and pepper and dress with the remaining mustard dressing. Toss well and serve straight away.