Recipe courtesy of Sara Moulton

The Perfect Salad

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 35 min
  • Prep: 35 min
  • Inactive: 25 min
  • Cook: 35 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

2 cups (1/2-inch cubes) rustic country bread

Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste

Olive oil, for brushing

1 baking potatoes, like russet, sliced thinly lengthwise into 16 slices

8 mixed herb leaves, such as basil, parsley, mint, lemon thyme, or tarragon cleaned and dried, plus 1/2 cup chopped mixed herb leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano

4 eggs

2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cups chicken broth

4 medium tomatoes, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices

6 to 7 cups loosely packed torn mixed greens such as romaine, frisee, arugula, baby red oak leaf, Belgian endive, or radicchio, washed and dried

1 cup unpeeled English or Kirby cucumbers, sliced

2 tablespoons snipped dill or chives

Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss bread cubes with olive oil, place on baking sheet in single layer bake of 6 minutes, toss cubes and bake for another 6 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Heavily oil a pan with olive oil. Lay down 8 slices of potato. Place an herb leaf in the center of each potato. Lay another potato slice on top of the herb and brush liberally with oil. Bake for 7 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Increase heat to 400 degrees F.
  3. On a silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet, place each of 4 tablespoons of cheese, spreading out each to 3-inch diameter across. Cook the cheese until melted and slightly browning, about 6 minutes. Remove the cheese from the pan and drape the cheese over a rolling pin, bottle, or the bottom of a cup to shape it. Place the frico on top of the salad.
  4. Place eggs in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes. Transfer to ice bath. Peel and quarter eggs.
  5. In a medium pan place chicken in a single layer and add enough chicken broth to cover by 1/2-inch. Transfer the breasts to a plate, and bring liquid to a boil. Return breasts, bring to a boil, and simmer gently for 7 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove from liquid and let cool. Slice on a diagonal before adding to salad. Serve warm or room temperature.
  6. Sprinkle sliced tomatoes with salt. Lay slices on paper towels to drain. Set aside.
  7. Place greens on a platter. Arrange egg quarters, sliced chicken breast, tomatoes, and cucumber in a decorative manner. Sprinkle mixed herbs and croutons on top.
  8. In a bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper. Add oil in a slow stream and whisk to emulsify. Add the shallots and garlic and adjust seasoning. Serve vinaigrette on the side.
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