Warm chicken and runner bean salad

22 Sep

Warm chicken and runner bean salad

I was given a wonderful bag of produce from my friend Rachel’s allotment for my birthday last week. Courgettes, tomatillos, piquillo peppers, nasturtium flowers, electric daisies (which make your mouth tingle in a slightly alarming fashion), squash, French and runner beans –  a generous sampling of their bountiful harvest.

Whenever I find myself with runner beans, this salad is the first thing I make. I love the vibrant colours and contrasting tastes and textures – crunchy croutons, tender chicken, just crisp beans, juicy tomatoes – high summer eating at its finest.

Warm chicken and runner bean salad
(serves 4)

  • 2 large, skinless chicken breasts
  • a splash of vegetable oil
  • 400g runner beans, sliced lengthwise
  • two slices of good bread (preferably stale), cubed
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 4 Tb olive oil, divided
  • a punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • a bunch of fresh herbs, roughly chopped – parsley, chives, dill, tarragon all work well
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper
  1. Pound the chicken breasts with a mallet or rolling pin to flatten them slightly. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add a thin layer of oil to a frying pan and heat over medium high. Add the chicken breasts and fry on both sides until cooked through. Remove the chicken, set aside until cool enough to handle, then tear into long strips.
  3. Add 2 Tb of olive oil to the frying pan and heat over medium. Add the bread cubes and garlic clove and fry, stirring regularly, until crisp and golden.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the runner beans, and blanch until just tender – about three minutes. Drain well.
  5. Combine the beans, tomatoes, chicken strips, croutons and herbs in a large serving bowl.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice and remaining two tablespoons of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then pour the dressing over the salad.
  7. Toss well and serve immediately.

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