• Chicken Salad Florentine With Garlic and Lemon Vinaigrette

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    Chicken Salad Florentine With Garlic and Lemon Vinaigrette
    Prep: 30 min Cook: 30 min Servings: 4
    by Yoko Kitahira
    3 recipes
    What makes this recipe rather unique among thousands of other look-alike salad recipes is the way I leave roasted garlic unstained after ground with the food processor. I believe most professional chefs prefer the strained liquid to the unstrained one because they hate to see sediment-like black spots that float in the liquid to be served in the dish. However, in my opinion they are actually part of precious cream of garlic essence. Anyway, the finished vinaigrette dressing will be mixed with the rest of ingredients. Nobody will care! Isn’t it how it tastes, not how it looks that counts in the end? Yet, if you adhere to straining as you learned at cooking school, OK, be my guest....



    1. To begin with, prepare garlic-lemon vinaigrette. Skin and cut garlic cloves into half. Put 15ml extra virgin olive oil to the saucepan. Warm the pan over medium heat and add garlic cloves. Roast garlic until its surface get lightly charred. Don't worry about overcooking. Burnt garlic yields surprisingly wonderful flavor for your dish (believe me).
    2. Put in a food processor red-wine vinegar, honey, salt and roasted garlic. Work the food processor twice or three times for a few seconds each. No need to, and honestly it won't work in this way to, puree garlic pieces. Just mashing garlic up into fine pieces will suffice.
    3. Pour all the contents of the food processor into the medium frying pan (after straining, if you dare to). Add the remaining extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice to the pan. Stir well with a whisk while simmering the pan over low heat. Never let it boil.
    4. When the ingredients in the frying pan start rolling (not boiling), add butter and stir thoroughly until butter melts down completely. Remove from the heat and let it stand until cool down to room temperature. Transfer it into airtight container and keep in a refrigerator. In this way, the vinaigrette sauce keeps well up to 1 week.
    5. Now time is to cook chicken salad Florentine. Peel skin from the chicken breast. Place the meat on the chopping board. If chicken breast is too thick to cut even into around 2cm dice, hold the knife pararel to the board and make a slit horizontally and cut the meat into two slices with even thickness. Dry-rub salt and pepper well over one side of the meat and cut into about 2cm dice as possible. Add butter to the frying pan and cook over the medium heat until all sides of chicken dice turn brown. While at it, pour red wine over the dice and flambe over high heat. Then, stop the heat momentarily and add balsamico vinegar and reheat the pan. Continue cooking over high heat until chicken dice lightly charred all over.
    6. Put parmesan cheese (grated) in a porcelain bowl and spread over the bottom. Transfer the chicken to the bowl right away from the pan while still very hot and turn and dredge the dice well with grated cheese.
    7. Set two whole paprikas on a rack over cooktop. Grill the paprikas over high heat until the skin is black and blistered all over. Immerse the paprikas directly into cold water and peel off the skin with your hand. Cut out the core and ribs inside and slit paprika lengthwise in half. Slice them lengthwise into thin strips.
    8. Dip sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for about 10 minutes and slice into thin strips. Put spinach and herb into a large sieve and blanch them in boiling water just for a few seconds. Then shock in ice cold water and pat dry with paper towel. Set aside. If there are leaves too large for bite-size, chop them rough.
    9. Place spinach, herb, paprikas, sprout and dried tomatoes in a bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Pour garlic and lemon vinaigrette sauce over the crudites in several batches while stirring with your own hand (no kitchen tools, please) thoroughly.
    10. Pile up the crudites on the serving plate using a cercle. Arrange chicken dice over the crudites so that the salad looks attractive.
    11. Peel the rind of green papaya with a peeler and cut the white pulp into julienne strips. Garnish upon the salad.

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