Mesclun Greens & Poached Chicken Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette
I feel like I should start by saying that there is bacon in this salad. If that doesn’t draw you in then the mildly bitter leaves of frisée and radicchio offset by the mild flavor of the chard and the sweet and acidic vinaigrette will. It is a beautiful salad that offers an eye-catching mix of colors. Plus the truffle gouda on top adds creamy and luxurious flavor.
I always line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and parchment paper when cooking bacon — it allows for easy cleanup and the parchment paper prevents the cooked bacon from sticking. Baking the bacon also cooks it evenly and flat, it doesn’t curl up while cooking.
Red wine vinaigrette:
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the salad:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 pound thick-sliced applewood smoked bacon
6 stalks chard, stems removed and roughly chopped
1 medium head frisée, stem removed and leaves separated
1 medium head radicchio, cored and torn
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
½ cup roasted, shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
½ cup shaved truffle Gouda*
For the red wine vinaigrette:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, honey, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Vigorously whisk in the olive oil until all ingredients are combined. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Note:The vinaigrette can be made a day prior to serving, and refrigerated in a sealed container or can be made just before serving.)
For the salad:
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Slice the chicken breasts in half lengthwise to allow for faster cooking. Place the chicken pieces in a medium saucepotin a single layer. Add just enough water to cover the chicken. Heat over medium heat until the water comes to a simmer; let simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot. Let cool completely then use hands to shred the chicken. Refrigerate in a covered bowl until ready to use.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and then a piece of parchment paper. Arrange the strips of bacon on the baking sheet. Bake until the bacon is dark golden brown and crispy, about 18 to 20 minutes, checking occasionally. Using tongs, remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool.
Add the chard, frisée, radicchio and fennel to a large salad bowl. Using tongs or serving spoons, toss the salad greens with the vinaigrette, adding a little at a time so the greens are evenly and lightly coated.
Add the bacon, pistachios and chicken, continuing to toss until all ingredients are combined. Top with the shaved truffle Gouda cheese and serve immediately.
Serves 8 as a side salad, 4 as an entrée.
*Truffle Gouda can be found at a gourmet cheese shop or in the gourmet cheese section of most Whole Foods or upscale grocery stores. It can also be found online at freshdirect.com.