Monday, 16 May 2011

Chicken & Asparagus Salad with Lemon, Chive & Mustard Dressing

This salad started off with me looking in the fridge to see what could be tossed together for a quick lunch. I had some chicken breasts left from the last batch of chicken salad, and also some asparagus - the first batch of the year! I always think that the "real" new year starts in the spring, and the date is the arrival of the first asparagus. The proper way to celebrate the changing of the seasons is, of course, to eat some asparagus!

Anyway, what else: lettuce from the garden, an apple, a bit of celery, and a few other odds and ends; a pretty ordinary salad really. But the dressing! We thought the dressing was great, and really tied it all together.

2 servings
30 minutes prep time, plus time to cook and cool the chicken

Make the Dressing:

1/2 cup mayonnaise (light is fine)
1/2 cup very finely minced chives
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
the juice of 1 large lemon

Clean and mince the chives, and mix them with the mayonnaise. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well. Be sure to wash the lemon well before grating the zest. Once around the lemon should give you about the right amount.

Set the dressing aside to rest while you make the salad. It does it no harm to be made in advance and refrigerated when you do the other advance cooking for this salad.

Make the Salad:
2 medium (375 grams, 3/4 pound) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
350 grams (3/4 pound) asparagus
4 cups torn up lettuce
2 stalks celery
1 medium apple
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped almonds

Poach the chicken breast in a little water until just cooked; about 15 minutes. (See previous recipe for more detailed instructions) and let cool.

Wash, trim and cook the aspargus until just tender, and rinse under cold water until cooled. Drain well, and cut in bite-sized pieces.

Wash, dry and tear up the lettuce, and arrange it on 2 plates. Wash and chop the celery and apple (discard core) and arrange them over the lettuce. Sprinkle the cranberries and almonds over the salad, and finally top with the asparagus and chicken.

Drizzle with the salad dressing. This is perhaps more than will be required for 2 salads, but any leftover should keep in the fridge for at least a couple of days.

Last year at this time I made Spinach with Feta & Dill and Garibaldi Biscuits.

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