Chicken & White Bean Salad

>> Martes, Marso 22, 2011

Chicken & White Bean Salad
Zucchini and celery give this chicken-and-bean salad a nice crunch. We like serving it over a bed of slightly bitter escarole and radicchio, but any type of salad greens will work.

1 medium clove garlic
2 cups diced zucchini, and/or summer squash (about 2 small)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups diced celery
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely diced ricotta salata, halloumi (see Shopping Tip, above) or feta cheese
6 tablespoons fresh orange juice, plus more to taste
1/3 cup chopped, well-drained, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, (optional)
1/4 cup white-wine vinegar, or red-wine vinegar
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil, plus whole basil leaves for garnish
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste (optional)
1 15-ounce can cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups torn escarole, or romaine lettuce
2 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken breast, (see Tip)
2 cups torn radicchio leaves

Yield: 4 Servings
1. To prepare vinaigrette: Peel the garlic and smash with the side of a chef’s knife. Using a fork, mash the garlic with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl to form a coarse paste. Whisk in 5 tablespoons oil. Add 6 tablespoons orange juice, vinegar and mustard; whisk until well blended. Taste and whisk in up to 4 tablespoons more juice to mellow the flavor; season with more salt, if desired. Set aside at room temperature.
2. To prepare salad: Combine beans, chicken, zucchini (and/or summer squash), celery, cheese and sun-dried tomatoes (if using) in a large bowl until well blended. Add chopped basil and 3/4 cup vinaigrette; toss until combined. Taste and season with salt and/or pepper, if desired.
3. Toss the remaining vinaigrette with escarole (or romaine) and radicchio in a medium bowl. Serve the salad on the greens, garnished with fresh basil leaves.

Tip: To poach chicken breasts, place about 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a medium skillet or saucepan. Add lightly salted water to cover and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer gently until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 15 minutes.

Ricotta salata and halloumi are both firm, salted cheeses that can be found at large supermarkets and cheese shops.

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