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Ethnic Sensations
April 2015



Tuscan Kale Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Pecorino Cheese and Pan-Seared Chicken Breast in A Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette
By Heidi Allison


This kale salad has the all requisite bold flavors and textures needed to showcase this amazing green — a creamy, garlicky, lemon and mustard vinaigrette, an aged, salty pecorino cheese, crunchy toasted almonds and sweet sun-dried tomatoes... Topped with a perfectly cooked, pan-seared chicken breast that has been brined (to maintain juiciness and enhance flavor), this is a beautifully executed, all-inclusive “meal-in-a-bowl” that makes a great party dish or weeknight dinner!

Kale

Tuscan Kale (aka Lacinato or Dinosaur Kale) is the green of choice for this dish. It is not interchangeable with curly kale. Why? Curly kale has a grittier, tougher texture that is not pleasing to the tongue. Curly kale also lacks the flavor of its more refined cousin (think curly parsley vs. Italian flat-leaf parsley). Although one can appreciate curly kale’s nutritional qualities, it’s like chewing cud. And, Tuscan kale plates better—its exquisite, deep, rich blue-green color pops on a brilliant, white salad plate!

There are culinary tricks that make this dish a success: first you must tame the fibrous texture of this chewy, leafy green by removing its tough ribs; then cut the leaf halves into thin (¼ inch) strips. Next, you massage the kale strips, using clean hands and a moderate amount of pressure, with either fresh lemon juice and salt, or, a creamy, highly acidic salad dressing (either lemon juice or vinegar), for about 15 squeezes, which further breaks down the kale’s tough cellular walls and makes this green a pleasure to eat. Do not skip this crucial step—it makes (or breaks) the dish!

Tuscan Kale Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Pecorino Cheese and Pan-Seared Chicken Breast in A Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette
Serves: 2 as an entree; 4 as a side


Ingredients:

Ingredients:  Tuscan Kale Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Pecorino Cheese and Pan-Seared Chicken Breast in A Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette

1 large bunch of Tuscan (Lacinato) Kale
3 Tablespoons Sun-Dried Tomatoes, cut into ¼ inch slice
4 Tablespoons Good Quality Breadcrumbs, minced
2 ounces Shaved Pecorino Cheese
2 Brined Chicken Breasts (see recipe below)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Brined Chicken Breasts:

1 cup Warm Water
1/3 cup Kosher Salt
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
20 turns of Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/3 cup Ice
2 Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts

Preparation:

Add first four ingredients and stir to dissolve. Add ice and chicken breasts.

Add first four ingredients and stir to dissolve. Add ice and chicken breasts.

Place in a small container (brine should cover the chicken) and cover with a top. Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Then rinse off brine and pat dry.

Heat a skillet on medium heat and add olive oil. Sear chicken until lightly browned or a caramelization forms, then turn over and cook other side for an additional 5 minutes. Place in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes on 350 until cooked through—test to see if juices run clear, then allow to rest for at least 15 minutes to allow juices to redistribute.

Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

Makes: 1 cup


4 cloves Garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
Kosher Flake Salt and Black Pepper
12 Anchovy Filets, rinsed and finely chopped
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
2 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of Fresh Lemon Juice
1 cup Olive Oil

Preparation:

Place sprinkling of kosher salt over garlic and use the flat side of a large knife to make a paste. Place anchovies, mustard, and lemon juice into a blender and puree. On slow speed, slowly drizzle olive oil into blender and puree until an emulsion occurs. Set aside or place in the refrigerator.

Place sprinkling of kosher salt over garlic and use the flat side of a large knife to make a paste. Place anchovies, mustard, and lemon juice into a blender and puree. On slow speed, slowly drizzle olive oil into blender and puree until an emulsion occurs. Set aside or place in the refrigerator.

Salad Assembly:

Remove tough ribs from kale and place slices in a large bowl of salted water and rinse. Rinse again with clear water several times. Stack kale and cut into 1/4-inch slices and dry on paper towel, or spin in a salad spinner.

Place kale back into bowl and drizzle with 3 - 4 tablespoons of dressing over pieces and massage dressing into kale using both hands with a moderate amount of pressure for about 15 seconds.

Add almonds and drizzle a bit more dressing over kale and toss till coated.

Place kale on a plate and add cheese, sundries tomato slices.

Cut chicken breasts into 1/3 inch slices, careful to keep shape of breast intact, and place over kale.

Serve immediately.

Tuscan Kale Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Pecorino Cheese and Pan-Seared Chicken Breast in A Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette