ITALIAN CHICKEN SALAD WITH CROUTONS, MOZZARELLA, OLIVES AND ROASTED RED PEPPERS

ITALIAN CHICKEN SALAD WITH CROUTONS, MOZZARELLA, OLIVES AND ROASTED RED PEPPERS, (for four)

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For the croutons:

4 cups (1/2 inch) cubes Italian bread (from a ½ pound crusty round loaf)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

For the vinaigrette:

¼ cup red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot

1 teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad:

2 cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken (1/2 pound, from a rotisserie chicken)

1 cup bocconcini (small fresh mozzarella balls, 6 ounces)

2 hearts of romaine (3/4 pound total), torn into bite-size pieces

one 8 ounce jar roasted red peppers, rinsed, drained and cut lengthwise into ¼ inch wide strips

1 cup assorted marinated brine-cured olives (5 ounces)

____________

  1. Make the croutons. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400*.  Toss bread cubes with oil and salt in a large shallow baking pan and spread in 1 layer.  Bake, turning over once, until golden and crisp, about 8 minutes.  Cool in pan on a rack.
  1. Make the vinaigrette and begin preparing the salad while the croutons bake. Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients except oil in a small bowl until combined.  Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.
  1. Toss chicken and bocconcini together with ¼ cup vinaigrette in a bowl and let stand 10 minutes to allow flavors to develop.
  1. Make salad. Toss together romaine, red peppers, olives, chicken and bocconcini mixture, croutons and remaining vinaigrette in a large bowl until combined.

 

from Gourmet Magazine, April, 2006

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