A good salad is hard to beat and this very simple salad, made in moments, is an immensely satisfying dish in its own right. It is also a somewhat healthy salad that doesn’t taste as if you are missing out – a bonus in my book!
The salad is packed with flavours that complement each other beautifully:
- juicy ripe peaches
- salty Feta
- Serrano ham
- peppery wild rocket
- lightly poached chicken breast
A light dressing
A slightly smoky and minty crème fraiche dressing finishes things off. I use just a little barbeque sauce in the dressing, which adds a subtle smokyness to the dressing without over-powering it. However, I have made the dressing with different sauces such as harissa paste and chipotle chilli paste.
I also give the remains of the peaches a little squeeze to get more of the juice to add to the dressing.
Chicken breasts: smoked or unsmoked!
The poaching of the raw chicken breasts ensures succulence rather than any hint of dryness. Poaching in stock gives a good flavour to the chicken.
However, I sometimes like to smoke the chicken breast very lightly before poaching it to finish it off, although I have used bought ready-smoked and ready-to-eat chicken breasts in the past with this salad.
If, however, you don’t want smoked chicken, simply poach the raw chicken breasts as in the recipe.
The juice from the peaches is quite heavenly as it mingles with the other ingredients, giving a very refreshing feel to each mouthful: but take a forkful of each ingredient and you have a real flavour explosion.
Low fat, high flavour!
Lower fat dishes really do need to taste great and I think this salad delivers on that score.
With all the other ingredients in the salad, you just need one chicken breast to serve two generously, but you can of course use more chicken. I love to poach the chicken as it results in a very moist meat and, if poached in stock, is flavoursome.
A grilled or barbecued chicken works very well: if grilling or barbecue, you can marinate it first in your marinade of choice to get even more flavour.
To save time even further, poach the chicken the day before, storing it in the fridge.
Another salad treat: panzanella
One of my favourite salads to eat is panzanella: garlicky, tomatoey soaked bread with roasted tomatoes, peppers, basil, capers…….seriously it is TO DIE FOR!
So why not try my version on this classic salad. My recipe can be found here.
Recipe: chicken, peach & Feta salad – serves 2
- 1 free-range chicken breast (unsmoked or lightly smoked)
- about 300ml stock (or use water flavoured with salt, pepper and fresh herbs such as rosemary and/or thyme)
- a couple of generous handfuls of wild rocket (or any salad leaves)
- 3-4 strips of Serrano or Parma ham, trimmed of excess fat and torn into small pieces
- 2 ripe peaches. sliced (peeled or unpeeled)
- about 80g Feta cheese, cut into small cubes
- a handful of toasted pine nuts or walnuts, optional
- about 3 tablespoons light crème fraîche or plain yoghurt
- a little of the peach juice, squeezed from the peach off-cuts
- 1-2 teaspoons of barbecue sauce or harissa sauce (or sauce of choice!)
- a few mint leaves, finely chopped
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
(1) Put the stock in a pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the chicken and poach gently for about 15 minutes if using raw chicken – you can skip the poaching if the chicken is smoked and already cooked.. Remove from the liquid and set aside to cool. Slice thinly.
(2) Mix the remaining salad ingredients in a serving bowl, along with the chicken pieces.
(3) Mix the dressing ingredients together. Taste, and add more seasoning or barbecue sauce if you feel it needs it – just go sparingly with the sauce.
(4) Spoon the dressing over the salad or gently mix in. Enjoy!