Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Marinaded chicken salad à la Kat

This is a 'guest blog' if you will from my good friend Kat, a fellow food fanatic, although a job in the city means daily blogging (and cooking!) isn't really feasible...

I invited a friend over for lunch, and, excited at the thought of a girly lunch images of chocolate, wine and generally debauchery, maybe even cheese, went through my mind... alas! Not so! My lunchtime guest requests a healthy light lunch, due to a colonic irrigation session later that day. Hmmm. Neither sounds appealing for a Sunday.

However, I decided to make a marinaded chicken salad - making the chicken by throwing the marinade into the blender took seconds, and meant that I had it almost taken care of before I went out on Saturday night. That was appealing.

This chicken would be excellent with a more simple salad, perhaps with potatoes in there too, or perhaps make a basic pasta tomato sauce and throw the cooked chicken on top at the last minute for a quick pasta dinner.

My secret to the best flavour is a really hot pan (my long suffering boyfriend has to keep reaching up to turn off the smoke alarm whenever I cook!) as this really makes the meat delicious.

Marinaded chicken salad a la Kat - Serves 2

1 large free range chicken breast
For the marinade:
3 sundried tomatoes
1 tsp paprika (smoked if possible)
½ lemon juiced
1 fat garlic clove
some fresh herbs - I used corriander
1 squirt tomatoe puree
For the salad:
½ bunch asparagus
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 handfuls of green beans or mange tout
A courgette
1 handful spinach leaves
1 carrot, grated
Some more fresh herbs to taste
½ lemon, juiced
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Add the marinade ingedients to a small blender, and whizz together until they form a paste.Slice the chicken breast into a few slices (ideally about 6-8), and put into a freezer bag. Add the marinade paste and carefully squidge it around with the chicken, trying to coat it as much as possible.

Tie up the freezer bag and leave in the fridge (you don't have to do this bit, but it tastes sooo much better if you do) for a few hours or overnight.

When ready to make the salad - remove the chicken from the fridge. Have a big pan of water heating up (with the lid on!!) ready to blanche the beans/mange tout and asparagus. Meanwhile, chop the courgette into slices, and pop in a hot pan with a dash of oil to lightly cook. Peel and grate the carrot, halve the cherry tomatoes. Wash the spinach leaves and place in two bowls, and scatter the grated carrot on top. Cook the asaparagus for a couple of minutes in the boiling water before adding the mange tout/green beans - how cooked you like them is up to you, but I reckon 2 mins for mange tout and 2-4 for green beans. they should look bright green still.

Meanwhile heat up a large frying pan and add a dash of oil to coat. Lay the chicken slices in, and cook on a high heat until looking crispy (and no longer pink in the middle if you want to check) - should take about 2-3 mins each side. Arrange the mange tout/beans, asparagus and courgette on top of your spinach and carrot, and the cooked chicken. For a quick dressing, whisk together some 4 tbs olive oil, juice of half a lemon and 2 tbs balsamic with 1tbs water. Voila!

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