This recipe is an easy one.
I am big on presentation and light on preparation – this salad fits perfectly into this category.
The ingredients are simple, fresh and available, it can be prepared ahead of time and it looks very pretty on the plate.
*Poach the chicken breasts (one per person or two if you are extra hungry) on a low heat in salted water with fresh bay leaves, a handful of pepper corns and copious cloves of fresh garlic. It normally takes about 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
*Remove the chicken from the pan, place in a bowl and pour half of the remaining jus over the chicken. This makes sure that the chicken breasts stay moist. Leave to cool.
*When the chicken is luke warm – say 15/20 minutes later – remove it from the stock and cut it into chunky pieces. (Leave the bay leaves, peppercorns and garlic cloves behind with the stock. The excellent chefs would have a plan for this leftover jus…sorry, not me.)
*In a bowl mix creme fraiche – I normally use one 50cl container for 12 smallish chicken breasts – and then add the chopped chicken.
*Stir together the chicken and the creme fraiche so that all the pieces are covered lightly.
*To this mixture add fresh chopped chives, toasted pine nuts, salt and pepper to taste.
* Just before serving add a cup full of freshly chopped mint and mix evenly through the salad. The secret to success is the fresh mint and the trick is to chop it at the last moment to preserve its flavour and colour.
The salad is best eaten at room temperature and with it I served a very simple rocket/arugula and parmesan salad.
The beauty of this chicken salad is that it is quick and easy to make and leaves plenty of time to make the table pretty.
The getting ready and the prettying up – that is my very favourite part of entertaining. xv