The first time I made this salad was for the chairman of the bank where I was their in-house chef. Later in the day he made a point of taking me aside and thanking me for “the best salad I have ever had”. That was definitely a big pat on the back! We love it too! The Honey Tarragon Vinaigrette quite simply makes the salad. This is something you can make with either freshly cooked or leftover chicken or turkey. Try and get the best greens you can get your hands on. I’d recommend those from farmer’s markets.
Makes 6 Servings
8 cups assorted greens
2 cups julienned cooked chicken or turkey
½ red onion, very thinly sliced
2 firm ripe pears (Bosc, Anjou or red skinned pears such as Red Sensation, would look great)
3 oz. blue cheese
1/3 cup walnut pieces or halves, toasted (see below)
Herbed croutons (recipe below)
Fresh dill sprigs
Honey Tarragon Vinaigrette
3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. minced shallot
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 ½ tsp. dried tarragon or 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon
¼ – ½ tsp. salt (to taste)
1/3 cup combined walnut oil & EVOO
Make the dressing:
In a blender combine all ingredients except the oils. Slowly drizzle in the combined oils, with the blender running, until the dressing is thickened. You can do the dressing the same way, using a bowl & whisk. (Place the dressing into a jar and store in the fridge until needed, shake dressing to combine before dressing the salad).
1 cup cubed day-old white of whole wheat bread
2 Tbsp. EVOO
½ tsp. each dried thyme, tarragon & salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Place the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet; toss with the EVO, herbs & salt. Place in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until crispy but not too hard. Set aside until ready to make the salad.
Assemble the salad:
You can place all the ingredients in a large salad bowl, but I have to say it is much prettier to assemble the salads on 6 individual plates.
Place the greens onto the plates; arrange the turkey or chicken on top of the greens. Cut the pears in half & remove the cores. Slice the pears & place them around the chicken, tucking into the greens here & there. Crumble the cheese onto the salads; top with some of the walnuts & croutons; garnish with thin slices of red onion & a sprig of fresh dill. Drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately.
Helpful link to Toasting Nuts.