Possibly one of my favorite salads ever! Light enough to eat in the summer and comforting enough for a winter dish too, my husband and I never get bored of eating this.
The idea for this came from a Waitrose (Posh English supermarket) recipe card from around 20 years ago! But serve it up for family or friends and it still seems as current as ever.
Use the best quality balsamic vinegar you can afford; the really thin, cheap stuff just won’t work as well. One good tip if you’ve only got the cheap stuff in is to to put it in a pan and reduce by around half. This improves the texture and taste of the vinegar.
Do not forego the shaved parmesan on top – it absolutely makes the dish. And don’t add it until the very last minute!
Recipe (serves 4):
2 bags of arugula (rocket) – around 100g
500g new potatoes
4 small chicken breasts, sliced into fairly thick slices
300g pancetta or good quality streaky bacon (In the States, I like to use Applewood)
Good quality balsamic vinegar (aged if poss)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The dressing – finely chop the shallots than add around 8 tablespoons of olive oil to around 3/4 of balsamic vinegar. Taste, and if you’re happy with the vinegar/oil ratio then season liberally.
The salad – Halve any large new potatoes and cook for around 15/20 minutes it until cooked through. Drain.
Cook the bacon in a large frying pan until crisp, then remove and put to one side.
In the same pan, add a little oil and fry the chicken until cooked through and golden brown on the outside.
Working quickly, combine the chicken, bacon, potatoes, rocket and dressing. Mix thoroughly and, shave parmesan to taste.
One word of warning; don’t add all the dressing at once. Add enough to gently coat the salad to begin with. You can always add more of it’s not to your taste. Any leftover dressing will last in the refrigerator for a few days.