Recipe: Poached Chicken and Vegetable Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Refreshing, light, packed with protein and greens — this is a much-appreciated center-of-summer, center-of-table recipe. The real beauty is that much of it can be made up to 24 hours in advance.
Time to poach and chill chicken: up to 24 hours in advance (10 minutes, active time)
Time to marinate chicken and vegetables: 1-3 hours
Time to compose salad: 15 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings
- Zest and juice from 1-2 ripe lemons (1/3 cup), plus remaining lemon for poaching chicken
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, plus extra sprigs for garnish
- 4 chicken breast halves
- 12 cups chicken stock (or water)
- 1 tablespoon dried herbs
- 4 peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
Any leftover vegetable scraps appreciated, but not required
- 1 1/2 cup (1/4-inch pieces) chopped cucumber (1 large cucumber)
- 6 ounces mushrooms, cut into halves, or fourths if large
- 12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved if large
- 1/2 cup kalamata pitted black olives, halved
- 5 cups salad greens, baby spring greens preferred
1. Place chicken, stock or water, reserved lemon, dried herbs, bay leaf and vegetable scraps, if using, in a heavy-bottomed pot. Season with kosher salt, if you are using water or unsalted stock. To season brew, bring to a boil and reduce liquid 20-30 minutes.
2. Place chicken breasts in seasoned, boiling liquid. When water returns to a boil, stir breasts around, then turn off heat. Cover tightly and let sit in poaching liquid until just cooked through, 20-30 minutes, depending on thickness of chicken.
3. Remove breasts from pan and chill. (This may be done up to 24 hours in advance. Poaching liquid can be strained, frozen and reused as stock for another recipe.)
4. Make a vinaigrette by whisking together oil, lemon juice, garlic and chopped thyme. (This may be done up to 24 hours in advance.) Set aside 1/4 cup for tossing with greens before serving.
5. When chicken is chilled, slice into 1/4-inch pieces. Drizzle 1/4 cup of dressing over chicken, coating both sides. Season chicken with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Refrigerate until ready to assemble platter.
6. Toss cucumbers, mushrooms, tomatoes and olives in remaining dressing. Let sit in marinade, refrigerated, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours, occasionally stirring. Rinse salad greens well. Spin or pat dry, then toss with reserved 1/4 cup dressing. Season greens with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, if desired.
7. Center the marinated vegetables on your platter and arrange greens and chicken around vegetables. Garnish platter with lemon zest and thyme sprigs.
This recipe was written by Peggy Lampman and originally posted on AnnArbor.com on July 13, 2011.