Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Roast chicken salad

Composed salads belong to a large group of dishes for which recipes are merely templates. A salad is not a dustbin; but provided that the ingredients are harmonious, many variations on themes are possible. Obeying precise instructions is not in the spirit of the dish.

Still, recipes have their uses. The following is what I cooked (for four) last night, rather than a definitive recommendation.

750 g Jersey Royal potatoes
1 clove garlic
4 red peppers
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt, pepper
Left over meat from a 1.7 kg roast chicken (about half of it)
100 g black olives, pitted
Large handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 Little Gem lettuces

Scrape the potatoes, cover with cold water in a saucepan, throw in the garlic clove, bring slowly to the boil, and simmer until tender. (There is more on cooking Jerseys here.)

Bake the peppers for 20 to 30 minutes at gas mark 8/230 C, until the skin is blackened and loose. When cool, peel and deseed, retaining the juices, and cut into strips.

Wash and dry the lettuce.

When the potatoes are tender, drain them, and fish out the garlic. Squeeze the garlic flesh from the husk, and -- in a salad bowl -- mash it, with salt and pepper, in the vinegar. Whisk in the oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Cut up the potatoes, and toss them gently in the vinaigrette. (If you do this when they are hot, they will absorb more dressing; they firm up as they cool.)

Stir in the meat, the peppers with their juices, the olives, parsley and lettuce leaves. Or you could lay the lettuce on plates, piling the rest of the salad on top.

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