Warm Chicken Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette


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Wolfgang PuckIt’s the New Year — or, as I sometimes like to call it, the end to the Big Holiday Splurge. For the past six weeks (or nine, if you count Halloween among your holiday observances), many of us have been eating and drinking our fill of delicious foods and drinks that have no other reason for being than to delight us. As a result, around about New Year’s, some of us may have begun to notice that our best business or party outfits suddenly seemed to have shrunk in size. We strained to button them or zip them up. Which led, of course, to the most common New Year’s resolution: Lose weight. But please let me propose amending that resolution in a very important way: Lose weight — without sacrificing flavor! Click here for Wolfgang Puck's full introduction.

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  • Mustard Vinaigrette:
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh basil, chives, or parsley
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 C. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Chicken Salad:
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 C. washed, dried, and torn baby romaine lettuce leaves
  • 3 C. washed, dried, and trimmed watercress leaves
  • 1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, such as cremini, shiitake, or oyster mushrooms, trimmed, wiped clean, and thickly sliced
  • Finely chopped fresh basil, chives, or parsley, for garnish

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First, make the vinaigrette: In a small mixing bowl, stir together the mustard, fresh herbs, vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil. Correct the seasonings to taste, including the mustard and vinegar, and set aside.

Preheat the broiler.

Lightly brush the chicken breasts all over with a little of the olive oil and season them to taste with salt and pepper. Place the chicken breasts in the broiler pan or a shallow baking pan placed under the broiler and broil until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes per side. (When the broiling time is almost over, cut into the center of one with a sharp knife to make sure that it is no longer pink at the center.)

Once the chicken has begun to cook, put the romaine and watercress leaves in a big salad bowl and toss with just enough of the vinaigrette dressing to coat them lightly. Set aside.

After you have turned the chicken breasts to cook on their other sides, heat a large skillet over high heat and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and sauté over high heat until they begin to turn golden, about 4 minutes; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide the salad leaves among 6 serving plates, mounding them in the center. Arrange the sautéed mushrooms around the leaves. Cut each chicken breast crosswise and on the diagonal into 6 slices and arrange the slices over each bed of greens. Spoon a little more of the vinaigrette over the chicken, garnish with fresh herbs, and serve immediately.

(Chef Wolfgang Puck’s TV series, “Wolfgang Puck’s Cooking Class,” airs Sundays on the Food Network. Also, his latest cookbook, “Wolfgang Puck Makes It Easy,” is now available in bookstores. Write Wolfgang Puck in care of Tribune Media Services Inc., 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, N.Y. 14207.)


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