Easy summer salads are the way to go, now that the
winter blues are fading into the distance and salad days are here. The
best salads are light, bright and easy to prepare.
After all who wants to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen when friends
are round for lunch, the garden is in bloom and the wine is chilled and
ready to pour. But before you start to cook you save a lot of energy by
buying the right ingredients for a simple salad. That way you don?t need
the heavy bottled sauces and dressings to make a great flavor
Do you really want to take a beautiful crisp summer salad and soak it
in a mixture of fat, sugar, salt and chemicals? If you start off with
great food and don?t do too much to it you don?t need all these strong
tastes as you still have great food.
All you need is to combine it well so that the flavors work together,
have a nice crunchy texture and add a little light dressing to set it
all off, and let the taste buds do the rest Freshness is, as in all cooking,
the way to a good salad. Don?t take what the supermarkets give you. Although
it?s easier to pick up the ready packed tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, bell
To make sure you get the best, take a minute or two and pick over the
vegetables, choose what is firm ripe and ready to use. The same of course
applies with meat and fish. There is a reason why supermarkets prepackage,
and it?s not always convenience. So choose well, cook quickly and simply
and your friends won?t have finished the wine by the time you get there!
Enjoy a little bit of summer now with this easy poached chicken salad.
Easy poached chicken salad
4 chicken breasts (skinless)
1 finely sliced red onion
1 whole half onion
4 good ripe tomatoes sliced thickly
250 grams/4ozs salad leaves mixed
4ozs raisins soaked in hot water for ten minutes
1 half lemon
2 fresh or dry bay leaves
1-teaspoon peppercorns black
1 small French, stick loaf or similar sliced into 1/2 slices
For the dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1clove garlic crushed
1/2 dessert spoon Dijon or other mild mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
To make the dressing, whisk the vinegar and mustard together with the
garlic, slowly add the olive oil while whisking and season with salt and
pepper to taste. Bring a pan of water to the boil with the bay leaves,
1/2 white onion, lemon and peppercorns.
Carefully add the chicken and simmer gently until cooked, if you unsure
it is worth investing a few dollars in a meat thermometer. The temperature
should be at least 75 celcius/167 Fahrenheit, put the sliced bread on
a baking tray and drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt.
Bake in a medium oven until crisp but soft in the middle. Mix the leaves
together with the onions and raisins. Turn in the salad dressing and put
into 4 good-sized bowls. Place slices of tomato and bread around the edge.
Slice the warm chicken at an angle and put attractively on top off the
salad. Sit back, enjoy and get someone else to do the washing up.