I’ve been a fan of Donna Hay for a long time, but I haven’t owned any of her cookbooks. I’m not sure why other than it’s a little tougher to get them here in the States. (Bad excuse, I know.) So I was happy as could be when her gorgeous cookbook, Fresh and Light, became available in paperback in the US in February. It’s seriously stunning. The photography and food styling alone makes it appealing, but the recipes are absolutely mouthwatering. After thumbing through it the first time, I immediately wanted to make every single recipe in the book! The cover recipe for Lemon Chicken with Tomato Salad particularly drew me in. When it arrived in the mail, it was still wintery outside and I immediately started longing for ripe, juicy summer tomatoes. I could almost imagine what it tasted like just by looking at it. It’s a fresh new take on Caprese Salad – thick slices of heirloom tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, poached chicken, fresh mint and arugula, and a lemon dressing. Definitely something I needed to make as soon as possible. Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.
Lemon Chicken with Tomato Salad
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Total Time: 20 min
A lovely, healthy salad made of thick sliced heirloom tomatoes and creamy fresh mozzarella topped with poached chicken, arugula, and a bright lemony vinaigrette.
For lemon poached chicken:
1 litre chicken stock
1 lemon, sliced
4 sprigs lemon thyme
1 teaspoon peppercorns
4 x 180 gram chicken breast fillets, trimmed
4 heirloom tomatoes, thickly sliced
2 large buffalo mozzarella, torn in half
1 cup mint leaves
3 x 180 grams lemon poached chicken breast fillets (from above)
150 grams rocket (arugula) leaves, shredded
For lemon dressing:
2 Tablespoons finely grated lemon rind
1 1/2 teaspoons caster (superfine) sugar
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
For poached chicken - Place the stock, lemon, thyme, and peppercorns in a deep pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover with a lid, and stand for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. (Will keep in fridge for up to 2 days.)
For lemon dressing - whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
For salad - Divide the tomato, mozzarella, and mint between four serving plates. Slice the chicken and toss it with the rocket (arugula). Top the tomato with the chicken mixture and spoon the dressing over the top right before serving.
-Prepare the chicken in advance so it has time to properly cool before assembling the salad.
-Use the best tomatoes you can find. If you can't locate any heirloom tomatoes, any other variety will work well too.
-The salad needs to be eaten immediately. If you need to make it in advance, prepare all of the components and assemble at the last minute.
-I couldn't find buffalo mozzarella, so I used one made from cow's milk.
Fresh and Light, HarperCollinsPublishers, Copyright © Donna Hay 2012
This is such a good salad! The dressing is bright and fresh – perfect with the tomatoes. Fresh mozzarella is deceptively light, but the acidity of the lemon and tomatoes helps cut the richness. The poached chicken is also really good. I made sure not to overcook it so it was still really juicy and flavorful. (I think it helps to use really good chicken too.) I liked the addition of the mint too. It brought a lot of fresh flavor. Normally I would use basil for caprese salad, which this salad is based on. I also really enjoyed the peppery bite the arugula added in. Overall, it was an outstanding salad.
Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?
Definitely! This salad really embodies the style and focus of the whole book on one plate. It’s fresh, light, simple to prepare, healthy, and full of flavor. I will be making this salad over and over throughout the spring and summer. I cannot wait to try more recipes from the book.