Feb 21, 2012

Pear chicken salad

Pears are a great compliment to greens.  Not too sweet, they take dressings well and their grainy structure provides a texture that compliments greens without overwhelming them.  They also seem to be available both during their natural peak season and, say, in winter.

This first variation of the theme is a chicken salad.  To pull off the thin slicing required to keep the chicken manageable, freeze two breasts thoroughly, then place them into the refrigerator overnight to thaw just enough to slice.  In the morning, do just that, then add them to a marinate of:

  • Olive oil
  • White wine vinegar
  • Honey (not too much)
  • Red pepper flake
  • Black pepper
Let that sit for around four hours, preferably near room temperature to let the chicken continue to thaw and absorb the flavors.  When that's done, pour the whole mixture into a covered pan and poach the chicken in the marinate, which will become the dressing.  Obviously you'll want to cook it all the way through as it's now quite contaminated with raw chicken.

While that is cooking, slice 3 pears thinly and place them in a large pyrex mixing bowl.  I used anjou on my first run; bosc seem to work very nicely.  When the chicken is cooked, pour the entire mixture over the pears and toss.  Once it has cooled enough not to wilt greens, add spinach or another lettuce of choice and toss again.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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