The inspiration: Leftover roasted chicken breasts, garbanzo beans that needed eating, fresh tomatoes, and a need for something to feed my family for lunch.
Leftover chicken breasts can be delicious, but they usually need something to accompany them to really make them taste their best. Rummaging around my fridge, I found some leftover garbanzo beans, and I had tomatoes that needed to be used up. It was far too hot to stand over a stove to cook, and when I am feeling lazy I usually make some sort of salad. This way I feed my family quickly and it’s not too much work!
The innovation: Giving the whole salad a boost by adding seasoned, roasted tomatoes and a bit of Dijon-red wine vinegar dressing.
I had wanted to make Provencal style tomatoes for a while. I have a cookbook that I read to get inspired (The Provencal Cookbook by Gui Gedda and Marie-Pierre Moine) and I kept coming back to this recipe. Even so, the salad still needed a kick, something to make it really delicious. I love a good Dijon dressing, and after dipping pieces of cold chicken into some Dijon mustard, I had the idea for this dressing.
This salad is full of flavors and textures – the softness of the salad greens, the bite from the Dijon and the red leaf lettuce, the smooth creaminess of the garbanzo beans, the silky texture and sweetness from the tomatoes, and the roasted flavor and heartiness of the chicken. I think that is what makes it a great salad – no two mouthfuls are indentical.
My Interpretation: Roasted Chicken Salad with Provencal Style Tomatoes and Dijon Dressing
This recipe is a entree size portion for 2-3 adults.
3 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts (already cooked and cooled completely)
2 cups already cooked garbanzo beans
4 beefsteak tomatoes
1/4 tsp of the following spices: sugar, fine sea salt, oregano, and garlic
1 (12oz) bag of butter lettuce/red leaf lettuce mix (or 12 oz of your preferred salad greens)
3 tblsp of Dijon mustard
2 tblsp of capers
2 tblsp of juice from the capers
2-3 oz of red wine vinegar
A three- finger pinch each of sea salt and black pepper
1) Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the tomatoes in half, and with a spoon carefully scoop out the seeds and white interior (set aside for another use or dispose). Turn upside on a sheet tray and leave sit for at least 30 minutes to remove excess liquid.
2) Oil a oven-safe baking dish with a light layer of olive oil, and arrange tomatoes in dish cut-side up. Sprinkle insides with the sugar, fine sea salt, oregano, and garlic. Bake at 400F for about 45 mins, then remove and let cool to just above room temperature.
3) Cut the tomatoes into slices – you may notice that the skin comes away as you cut, and that is ideal. Whatever skin remains after cutting, carefully peel away. Refrigerate and chill completely.
4) While you wait for tomatoes to cool assemble the dressing. Using a stick blender, blend together everything except the olive oil. Very slowly and in a thin stream add the olive oil til mixture looks a bit fluffy and is a very pale yellow.Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
5) To assemble, slice the chicken breasts on the bias, then cut in half down the middle (for a fancier presentation leave in strips) Add the garbanzo beans, and roasted tomatoes to the salad greens. To avoid over-dressing the salad, dip the fingertips of one hand into the dressing, then fold the dressing onto the salad, gently mixing the ingredients at the same time. Save leftover dressing for another use.