Wednesday 18 January 2012

Sandwich-Press Chicken, Potato and Green Bean Salad

A quick sizzle between the plates of a sandwich press produces the most soft and succulent chicken strips imaginable, probably because they're very quickly cooked on both sides at the same time, and thus have no chance to stiffen or toughen, as they tend to do in a pan. Tossed with some hot spuds, snappy green beans and a garlicky lemon dressing, they make a most delicious warm salad. Of course you can make this using an ordinary frying pan, but if you do have a sandwich press, give this method a try. You'll never again cook chicken strips any other way.

This does work with deboned chicken breasts that have been flattened between two sheets of clingfilm (see Quick, Easy Sandwich-Press Chicken Breasts for Kids), but for best results, use a pack or two of slim chicken fillets, namely, the little 'extra' strip of chicken found on the underside of the breast.  I used some lovely pink fir potatoes, but any type of new potato will do. I've also added finely chopped rocket to this salad. Rocket is almost always served as a whole salad leaf (because it's so pretty, I imagine) but it's also very good treated as you would a herb leaf: try slicing or chopping it very finely and adding it to omelettes, mayonnaises, dressings, and so on.

Sandwich-Press Chicken, Potato and Green Bean Salad
400 g new potatoes
2 x 400 g packs chicken fillets
salt and milled black pepper
1 T (15 ml) olive oil
300 g fine green beans, stalk ends trimmed
a small bunch of  rocket, finely chopped

For the dressing:
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
a pinch of salt
1 tsp (5 ml) Dijon mustard, or similar prepared mustard
4 T (60 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
a pinch of white sugar
200 ml extra-virgin olive oil

Cook the potatoes in plenty of boiling, salted water for 20-25 minutes, or until just tender. Fish them out of the pan and drain them in a colander, but leave the water behind in the pot.

In the meantime, make the dressing. Put the crushed garlic, salt, mustard, lemon juice and sugar into a large mixing bowl and stir the mixture until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Whisk in the olive oil to make a smooth emulsion. Set aside.

Heat the sandwich press for 5 minutes. Peel the plastic off the first pack of chicken strips and season them - without removing them from the pack - with salt and milled black pepper (or a seasoning salt of your choice). Open the sandwich press and pour the oil over the base. Close it briefly (stand well back) so the upper surface is coated with oil. Tip the chicken strips, salted side down, onto the base plate, quickly push them apart with a fork and close the press. Cook for a minute and a half to two minutes, or until there is no trace of pinkness when you cut through a strip. Tip the chicken strips into the bowl containing the dressing, and cook the second batch in the same way. Halve the warm potatoes (or leave them whole, if they're tiny), add them to the bowl containing the chicken and toss gently to coat.

Fill a bowl with iced water, add a handful of ice cubes and set to one side. Bring the water on the stove back up to the boil and throw in the beans. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until  just tender, but with a slight bite. Drain the beans, plunge them into the iced water and let them sit there for 5 minutes, or until they're quite cold.  Pat the beans dry with kitchen paper and add them to the mixing bowl along with the chopped rocket. Toss well, season to taste with salt and milled black pepper, tip onto a platter and serve immediately.

If you're making this in advance, cook the beans no less than 30 minutes before you serve the salad, as they will turn a muddy khaki if left to stand for too long.

Serves 6 as a main course; 8 as a side salad.

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Nina said...

Lovely idea Jane, will try for sure!!

Nice chatting to you yesterday!!


Maryon said...

Lovely idea. I am now about to bring out the sandwich toaster that has been gathering dust at the back of some cupboard since my beautiful son went to Australia 6 years ago.

Maryon said...
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