Friday, May 20, 2005

Warm Sourdough Bread Salad with Chicken and Pine Nuts

Warm Sourdough Bread Salad with Chicken and Pine Nuts (Adapted from Sara Foster)

For the vinaigrette

1 lemon, halved
2 garlic cloves (skins left on)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
salt and fresh ground black pepper

For the salad

4 cups 1" chunks of crusty, rustic sourdough bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups shredded cooked chicken
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons raisins
2 garlic cloves, minced
fresh ground black pepper
4 to 5 cups loosely packed arugula
2 scallions, thinly sliced

To prepare the vinaigrette

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In an oven-safe dish, place lemon, cut side down, and whole garlic cloves onto the bottom and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place pan into the oven and roast until the lemon and garlic are soft and golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.

To prepare the salad

Increase oven to 475 degrees.

On a large, rimmed baking sheet, add bread chunks and drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil - season with salt and toss to coat. Arrange the cubes in a single layer and place into the oven to bake until the bread is crispy and golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside (leave oven on).

Into a medium bowl, juice the roasted lemon. Remove the skin from the garlic cloves and add into the lemon juice, smashing them together with a fork. Stir in the vinegar, then gradually whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, add toasted bread, shredded chicken, pine nuts, raisins and garlic - drizzle with half of the vinaigrette, then season to taste with salt and pepper, tossing gently to combine. Spread mixture out onto the baking sheet you used for the bread cubes and place back into the oven to warm through, about 5 minutes.

Remove pan from the oven and slide salad back into the large bowl. Add arugula and scallions, then drizzle with remaining vinaigrette and toss to coat. Season with additional salt and fresh ground black pepper, if needed, then serve warm.

Makes about 4 servings.

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