I had a delicious salad for brunch one day years ago and decided to try to re-create it at home. I think it came out pretty well! I always liked to serve this at the corporate dining room where I worked as in-house chef, when the Mandarin oranges arrived at the market in winter. Makes a nice lunch during the holidays.
Makes 6 Servings
5 or 6 Mandarin oranges, peeled, white pith, removed as much as possible, segmented
2 large bone-in chicken breasts, poached, chilled, cut into slices, chunks or strips
½ cup pecans, toasted (see below), chopped coarsely
8 to 10 oz. Brie cheese (or Camembert), rind removed or not, cut into thin slices with a wet knife
4 Belgian endives, separated into spears
1 small radicchio, shredded into thin strips
1 head of curly endive, discarding the tough outer leaves, or 2 heads of frisee lettuce
1 head red leaf lettuce
Poppy Seed Dressing (recipe below)
Prepare the chicken:
Poach the chicken breasts by placing into a pot of simmering chicken stock, enough to cover the chicken; cover and simmer chicken until the juices run clear. Remove from the heat, leaving the lid on. The chicken will continue to cook a bit more in the stock while cooling. After about an hour, place the chicken, the stock, in the fridge, chill until cold. When ready to make the salad, remove the chicken from the fridge; reserving the stock for another use. Remove the meat from the bones, cut into julienne, chunks, or slice
Combine all the greens, except the Belgian endive. Top with chicken, Mandarin orange segments, brie slices and pecans. Serve with the poppy seed dressing.
Poppy Seed Dressing:
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. sugar or honey, or to taste
1 – 2 tsp. Pernod (anise flavoured liquor)
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2/3 cup canola or other flavourless oil
1 – 2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
Combine all dressing ingredients, in a medium sized bowl, except the oil & poppy seeds. Whisk to combine. Very slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly, until the dressing is emulsified (ingredients will have come together to form a creamy dressing); add the poppy seeds; whisking just to combine. Chill until ready to use.