This post is a part of a series I call Lovely Lady Lunch–where I take time, once a week, to make myself a real lunch. On the side, I might read a book, flip through a magazine, or watch something on YouTube. The idea is to enjoy a delicious lunch and just take a minute in the middle of the day to chill. I encourage you to share your lovely lady lunches on media using the tag #lovelyladylunch!
This week for #watchmakeuptutorialswhileeatinglunch aka Lovely Lady Lunch, I have a salad situation for us. A bit healthier than last weeks baguette stuffed with gooey cheese and prosciutto, but still delicious! It has poached chicken on top, which I realize sounds like the most boring salad topping of all time and it might even have you think nope, but I’mma try to convince you. I actually think poached chicken is super versatile–you can use it for so many dishes, and it takes well to all sorts of flavor combinations. Think of it as a blank, protein-packed, slate. In this, salad it packs a ton of the aforementioned protein and soaks up lots of the sweet and tangy Honey-Shallot Vinaigrette. I love this dressing so much and make it often. I love that the pungent shallots get balanced by the floral sweetness of the honey and the tangy vinegar brightens everything up. I tend to like my vinaigrettes on the tangy side, so I think the kind of vinegar you use should be one you really enjoy. I’ve been having a moment with sherry vinegar for months now, it just tastes so luscious and complex to me, but it’s equally delicious with any vinegar you prefer (champagne and red wine vinegar are other favorites). I like to add the shallots to the jar first, followed by the vinegar, just so the oniony bite gets mellowed out right away, preventing you from walking around with dragon-breath all afternoon.
Beets, arugula, some cucumber, and goat cheese round out this salad for a complete meal in a bowl or on a plate (or pack it into a container with a little side container of dressing, to go). I definitely went the bowl route for optimum couch-lounging-while-you-tubing.
- 1 small poached chicken breast
- 2-3 tablespoons Honey-Shallot Vinaigrette
- 2 cups arugula
- 2-3 roasted and peeled beets
- 1-2 ounces crumbled goat cheese
- thinly sliced cucumber
- salt and pepper
- Poached Chicken:
- 2 chicken breasts
- ½ lemon
- 1 bay leaf
- 4-6 whole peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Honey-Shallot Vinaigrette:
- 1 shallot diced fine, about 2-3 tablespoons
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- To poach the chicken, place the chicken breasts in a medium saucepan, squeeze the juice from the lemon half over the chicken and add the lemon half to the pan, add the bay leaf, peppercorns, salt, and enough water to cover the chicken by about ½ inch. Bring the water to a boil, cover, and turn the heat down to low for 15 minutes. The chicken is done when the internal temperature reads 165°F. Remove the chicken from the pan and place in a container to cool. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Make the vinaigrette by placing the diced shallot into a jar, followed by the sherry vinegar, honey, mustard, salt, and olive oil. Fit a lid over the jar and shake well to combine (or whisk). Taste the vinaigrette for seasoning–add more salt to taste or olive oil for a milder dressing.
- Assemble the salad by placing the arugula leaves in a shallow bowl. Cut a chicken breast into thin slices across the grain and arrange over the top of the arugula. Cut the beets into quarters and add those, along with the cucumbers, to the salad. Crumble the goat cheese over the salad and dress with a few tablespoons of the honey-shallot vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.
You’ll only use one chicken breast for a serving of this salad, but I always poach two and save the second for another salad or meal.