Friday, 1 February 2013

Chicken and Peach Summer Salad

Summer is the time of stone fruit and delicious berries. Growing up, stone fruit was not only expensive, but invariably had been flown from the US or Australia unripe and ended up tasting like squidgy, floury mush by the time we bought it in Singapore. When I first moved back to Australia I was amazed at the range and flavour of all the different summer fruits; who knew that peaches could be white or yellow, or that plums came in at least 3 different colours ! Biting into a ripe peach, with juice running down your chin and over your hand has to be one of my favourite summer moments. So when scanning through my collection of magazines and cookbooks for inspiration for a refreshing summer salad, peach sounded like the perfect accompaniment.

One suggestion for this recipe (something I learnt the hard way) is that to get perfectly cut slices every time - invest in a mandolin. A mandolin is a fantastic device that lets you control the type and thickness of each of your slices, whilst keeping your fingertips safe from harm. Another tip is to not buy the cheapest mandolin you can find. Having done this myself, the lack of control just isn't worth it. Spend that bit extra and let everyone think that you've turned into a Masterchef overnight.

Lastly, the original recipe in the Gourmet Traveller calls for crisp-skinned chicken. As part of my (weekday) attempts to eat healthy I am trying to avoid all frying. If you are serving this for a party, I think the texture of the crispy-skin would really make this salad so suggest following the original recipe. If, like me, you'd rather avoid the vat of oil stick to BBQing or baking and use crunchy dry roasted peanuts to compensate.


  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 3 yellow peaches, thinly sliced
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch mint
  • 1/2 bunch coriander
  • 70g peanuts, roasted 
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 birds-eye red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp water

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and bake chicken breasts on a lightly oiled tray for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Cool then thinly slice.
Toss remaining salad ingredients together and top with sliced chicken.
For the dressing, combine all the ingredients, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Taste before pouring over the salad. If you do not like the heat of chilli, substitute the birds-eye for a long red chilli.
Lightly toss ingredients before serving, enjoy on a hot summers night with a cool glass of Riesling!


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