Chopped Chicken Salad with Ricotta Salata
A nice chopped salad is such a great simple dinner option. It’s an easy way to make use of any raw vegetables you have hanging out in your fridge. Just chop them up and toss them with a bright lemony vinaigrette and some seared chicken and you have yourself a meal. In this recipe from my Cooking Confidence Series, I’ve used radicchio and Belgian endive for a touch of bitterness that truly makes this salad something special. The slightly spongy, perfectly milky and salty ricotta salata cheese is also a winning addition. It’s like an Italian version of feta – so tasty!
And why, you may ask, do I use the method described below for cooking the chicken? It’s my trick for keeping chicken breast perfectly moist. Placing a small lid directly on the chicken traps the steam and allows the chicken to retain its juices as it finishes cooking. No more dry chicken coming out of your kitchen. How’s that for a confidence boost?
Wine suggestion: Sauvignon Blanc, Un-oaked Chardonnay or Pinot Noir
3 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless, about 6 to 8 ounces each
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small head radicchio, diced
2 small carrots, peeled, diced
2 small zucchini, ½-inch dice
1 small head escarole, chopped
3 heads Belgian endive, 1/4" slices
6 ounces ricotta salata
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large oven-proof frying pan over medium heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook until light golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook with a smaller lid place directly on top of the chicken until the chicken is golden and cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Let the chicken cool.
In the meantime, in a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, shallots and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
When the chicken has cooled, cut the chicken into ½-inch pieces.
In a large bowl, toss together the radicchio, carrots, zucchini, escarole and endive. Add the ricotta salata and chicken and toss with the vinaigrette.