Cook the Book: Neo-Chicken Salad

Cook the Book: Neo-Chicken Salad

And with the unofficial start of summer just a couple weeks away, I thought this chicken salad recipe might be a good dish to feature for today's Cook the Book, which highlights Michel Richard's Happy in the Kitchen.

Richard recently won a 2007 James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef for his work at Michel Richard Citronelle in Washington, D.C. Happy in the Kitchen itself was nominated for Cookbook of the Year.

Neo-Chicken Salad

  • Yield:4 as a main course

Ingredients

  • 12 to 14 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 halves), trimmed of all fat and sinew
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots
  • 1/4 cup minced chives
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 4 boquerones anchovies, minced
  • 2 tablespoons drained nonpareil capers, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, grated on a rasp (or finely minced)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 5 drops Tabasco sauce, or to taste

Directions

  1. 1.

    Fill a large pot with water and clip a thermometer to the side of the pot. Using a large pot of water makes it easier to maintain the temperature once the chicken is added. Heat the water to 160°F.

  2. 2.

    Roll the chicken breasts in plastic: Use a wet hand to moisten the work surface to anchor the plastic; lay out a 2-foot-long piece of plastic wrap with a short side toward you. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the breasts end to end down the center of the plastic wrap, starting up from the bottom edge of the plastic. Pull the plastic wrap from the bottom up over the roll, pressing the plastic wrap against the surface but making sure not to catch it in the meat. Slowly roll up the cylinder in the plastic wrap, pinching in the sides from time to time to compact the roll. Twist both ends and tie with kitchen twine, forming a compact log. Trim the ends of the plastic.

  3. 3.

    It is important that the water temperature remain between 155° and 160°F while the chicken cooks. Keep a bowl of ice cubes next to the stove, and check the temperature often; if it climbs, add a few ice cubes to lower the temperature quickly. Add the chicken breasts and poach for 30 minutes.

  4. 4.

    Fill a large bowl with ice water. Remove the breasts from the water and place in a the ice water to cool.

  5. 5.

    When chicken is cool, remove from the water, wipe dry, and remove the plastic. Cut the chicken into 1/4-inch dice and place in a bowl. If the chicken is not completely cool, place in the refrigerator to cool for no more than 30 minutes.

  6. 6.

    Add the remaining ingredients; stir gently to combine evenly. Season to taste.

  7. 7.

    Place 3 1/2–inch ring mold or round cookie cutter in the center of a serving plate. Fill the mold with one-quarter of the salad, and smooth the top. Remove the ring and repeat on 3 additional plates.