Saturday 25 August 2018

More Amazing Salads

I have always been looking for a good salad recipe to use up left over chicken. This Thai Chicken, Coconut and Coriander Salad with Crispy Shallots is the best one I have found yet. If you don’t have any left over chicken, poach the chicken in the dressing as in the recipe., Coconut and Coriander Salad with Crispy Shallots

Thai Chicken, Coconut and Coriander Salad

1 x 400ml can coconut milk
Fresh or frozen lime leaves
2 Thai birds eye chillis, lightly bashed
Small bunch coriander
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon palm sugar, or brown sugar
2 chicken breasts, trimmed
40g toasted coconut chips (try Ocado)
½ a cucumber
3 carrots, peeled
1 red pepper, cut into very thin rings
1 lime
3 shallots, peeled
Sunflower oil
Sea salt
Place the coconut milk, fish sauce, the stalks of the coriander (saving the leaves for the salad), the chillis, the sugar, a teaspoon of salt and the lime leaves in a saucepan. Add the chicken breast and bring to the boil. Gently simmer to poach the chicken for 12–15 minutes or until cooked through. Remove chicken from the pan and rest. Turn up the heat on coconut milk and reduce until a few tablespoons remain. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Strain and add the juice of the lime. Taste and adjust seasoning. It should be fragrant, spicy, sour and sweet.
Meanwhile, shave the cucumber and carrots, leaving just the cores, with a peeler. Put in a large bowl with the coconut chips, the red pepper and coriander leaves. When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken.
Slice the shallots as thinly as possible. You can use a mandolin or food processor. Place in a small saucepan and just cover with oil. Over a high heat, stir the shallots frequently until they are golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well on kitchen paper. Spread out thinly and allow to cook. Lightly season with salt and fluff up so that the shallots go crispy.

Celery Salad with Dates, Almonds, and Parmesan
When you get to my age and you have been cooking as long as I have, it is really hard to find recipes that are fresh, exciting or different but this simple celery salad is really exciting. I’m not even that keen on fruit or nuts in savoury dishes but the celery, lemon and the chilli really balance out the sweetness. It made a very tasty lunch!

Celery Salad with Dates, Almonds, and Parmesan
Serves 2
½ cup/large handful raw almonds with skins8 celery stalks, thinly sliced on a diagonal, use leaves too
6 dates, pitted, coarsely chopped
Zest of one lemon plus 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chunk of Parmesan, shaved
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Very small pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Toss almonds, celery, celery leaves, lemon zest and dates in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Mix the lemon juice and olive oil together well. Add a small pinch of chilli flakes and mix through the salad. Serve with shavings of parmesan.Add the chicken to the bowl with the vegetables and then dress with the dressing (you may not need all of it.) Pile onto plates and top with the crispy shallots.

Warm Salad of Avocado, Baby Spinach and Bacon, Poached Egg

Salad Tiede was all the rage about 10 years ago. Literally translated as “warm salad” it is one of those culinary terms which just sound so much more exciting in French than it does in English. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have to taste exciting. Super quick and simple it relies on really great ingredients to transform it into something really special, so use the best bacon, avocados and eggs that you can find.

Warm Salad of Avocado, Baby Spinach and Bacon, Poached Egg
Serves 2
8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, cut into lardons
2 organic, free-range eggs
Large handful or two of baby spinach leaves
2 ripe avocadoes, cut into large chunks
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Splash white wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Put a small pan of water onto boil. Fry the bacon in a little olive oil until really golden and crispy in a heavy bottomed frying pan. Remove the pan from the heat from the heat. Put the spinach leaves into a large bowl with the avocado chunks. Add the red wine vinegar to the pan with the bacon and allow to bubble away. Add a dash of white wine vinegar to the pan of boiling water, turn down the heat and carefully crack in the eggs. Poach until the whites have totally cooked but the yolks are still runny. Remove with a slotted spoon onto some kitchen paper to drain. Stir the mustard into the pan with the bacon. I should have cooled a bit by now. You want the mustard to amalgamate with the bacon fat and the vinegar, not cook. Season and pour the bacon and dressing over the spinach and avocado. Toss well and tip into bowls. Top with the eggs and a good grind of black pepper. Serve straight away.

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