B is headed to Las Vegas this week to keep his Dad company, so since he’ll be away from home, I decided to make this weekend’s meals memorable. That old chestnut “absence makes the heart grow fonder” has a sister saying – “the way to a husbear’s heart is through his stomach”. Or something like that. Ever since I moved in, it’s been a constant battle to keep our waistlines down. I like to joke sometimes “All I have to do is turn sideways, and voila! 20 lbs. gone.” Oh, but for the days when I was a Pretty Young Thing, when I actually had a 32″ waist. That seems like a lifetime ago. It’s totally unreachable now unless I exert myself.
Both of us could stand to lose 10-15 lbs. I think that after his trip we’ll both have to go on the Virtuous Diet which means meals like the recipe below will become not as frequent.
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Roast Chicken Salad with Haricots Verts and Mustard Vinaigrette
Recipe adapted from Buvette by Jody Williams, page 80.
For the salad:
8 small potatoes
1/4 kg haricots verts, trimmed
salad greens (I used mesclun, radish greens, fava greens and arugula)
freshly ground black pepper
120 ml vinaigrette (recipe follows)
leftover roast chicken
1 tbsp. (14 g) Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. (14 g) whole-grain mustard
2 radishes, thinly sliced
For the vinaigrette (page 258):
2 shallots, peeled and finely diced
1 tsp. (4 g) fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, grated on a Microplane grater
3 tbsp. (44 ml) red wine vinegar
120 ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. (15 ml) water
pinch of sugar
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a spoonful of coarse salt, then the potatoes. Stir to ensure the salt dissolves.
Boiling potatoes whole is a technique I picked up recently. It ensures even cooking and less waterlogged vegetables. For a medium-sized potato, it will be completely cooked in about 15 minutes. Larger sized potatoes will take about 20 minutes.
Lift out with a slotted spoon, then plunge into a bowl of ice water. When cool, peel as normal (peel should slip right off), then use as desired.
If you don’t want to deal with boiling, you can also steam them whole.
If you don’t have a microplane grater, you might be able to achieve nearly the same texture by pounding the garlic in a mortar and pestle or by sprinkling the garlic clove with some salt and mashing it with the tines of a fork on a cutting board.
Either way, you’ll end up with a paste that looks a little like this. This is about 1 teaspoon (4 grams) garlic paste.
Trim the haricots verts by removing both ends just like you would regular green beans. I know you don’t need to trim off the tapered end but this is just personal preference. Prepare by simmering in boiling water (ideally the same pot you cooked the potatoes in) for five minutes. Lift out with a slotted spoon and plunge into a bowl of ice water, then drain.
If you don’t have haricots verts, regular green beans are ok to substitute.
For the vinaigrette, combine the shallots, garlic paste, chopped thyme, salt, sugar, black pepper and red wine vinegar in a glass measuring cup. Whisk in olive oil until you have about 2/3 cup (158 ml).
Whisk until all ingredients are combined.
Then whisk in 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard and 1 tbsp. whole grain mustard. Taste and correct for salt and pepper.
Once the potatoes are cool, slice into 1/4″ (6 mm) thick rounds. Or you can slice them into wedges. It’ll work either way.
Slice the radishes as thinly as you can. Having a sharp knife will work wonders in your kitchen.
To plate the salad, take some salad greens and toss with 1/3 of the vinaigrette, then arrange on a platter.
Take the potatoes and green beans, place in a bowl, then add 1/3 of the vinaigrette and toss those with the dressing. Spoon vegetables atop the greens.
Tear the roast chicken into bite-sized pieces, then top the potatoes and green beans with the chicken. Drizzle vinaigrette on top. Scatter radish slices, grind a little more black pepper on top, then serve at once.
This recipe is sized for 4 people and takes about 1 hour from start to finish, including prep time.