The other evening it got deliciously warm. One of those evenings which makes you think that summer has finally come to this windy city, time passing languidly, barely a breeze and all you can do is lounge in the sun. This called for salad and a light one at that. So, my sister and I pulled out piles of cookbooks and sat down to read through them, it felt very luxurious for some reason.
This salad is a combination of a Bill Granger Salad with an Annabel Langbein dressing and it fitted well with our mood. I’ve never been a huge fan of chicken and having only recently jumped back on the meat eating band wagon, I’m ready to try new things. Poached chicken for some reason has always seemed to me to be a bland thing, but this recipe has completely changed my mind. You really get the flavour of the chicken and a very delicate hint of the spicy black peppercorns and spring onions used to flavour the poaching broth. I am now a complete convert, we felt that poaching chicken was an elegant way to cook the chicken (use free range!) and it went so well with the crispy vegetables and the spicy, sweet, sour dressing. Kaffir lime leaves in the dressing give it a heavenly perfume, cannot wait to include them in more dishes.
Poached Chicken Summer Salad (from Simply Bill Granger and Annabel Langbein’s The Free Range Cook)
Dressing (also a good dipping sauce)
Combine 3tsp finely grated lemongrass, 1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce, 1/4 cup water, 2T fish sauce, 2 (I used 3) kaffir lime leaves, finely grated zest of 1 lime, 2T lime juice, 2 cloves crushed garlic and 2T freshly minced ginger. Taste and adjust seasoning, should have a balance of flavours.
1T black peppercorns
2 spring onions, roughly chopped
2T sea salt
2 chicken breasts
375g fresh egg noodles (we used dried)
6 spring onions, julienned
200g edamame beans, podded (buy frozen from asian supermarkets, then simply pop the required amount in the microwave and blast 30secs at a time til thawed. Then you can easily pop them out of their shells- fun!)
2 celery stalks, sliced diagonally
2 lebanese cucumbers, finely sliced (or about a third of a telegraph cucumber)
2 teaspoons of sesame seeds
Put the peppercorns, chopped spring onions and salt in a large saucepan, fill with cold water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Add the chicken breasts and stir. Remove from heat, cover with a tight fitting lid and leave to poach for an hour. After an hour, shred the chicken.
Cook noodles according to packet. Drain and pour cold water over them to refresh them, drain again. Return to pot and drizzle with a little sesame oil and about half of the dressing to stop them sticking together and to give them some more flavour. Arrange on a plate, then lay the chicken and vegetables on top, drizzle the remaining dressing over and sprinkle with sesame seeds.