This well-known salad from the States is a classic for a good reason. It’s a plateful of delicious ingredients and although it is called a salad, don’t go thinking it is anything other than a really satisfying lunch or supper. If Desert Island Discs asked for a dish to accompany one’s solitude this might be mine. I don’t think I could grow tired of the endless flavour combinations. I leave everything chunky –for people to tailor-make their own salad. However, you can chop the ingredients into bite-size pieces and mix it all together. I always roast boneless chicken thighs with olive oil, garlic and herbs but you could use breast meat or use any leftover roast chicken from a Sunday lunch.
- For the buttermilk herb dressing
- 100g mayonnaise
- 100g buttermilk
- 1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
- For the salad
- 250g new potatoes, halved
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 8 slices pancetta or thinly sliced streaky bacon
- 2 eggs
- 250g cooked chicken (see intro), cut into bite-sized pieces
- 100g creamy blue cheese such as St Agur or Roquefort, cubed
- 1 avocado, peeled, stoned and sliced
- 1 large romaine lettuce or two Baby Gem or Dolce Romana lettuces, leaves separated and washed
- 160g plum cherry tomatoes, halved
- 100g black olives
- For the dressing whisk the ingredients together and chill until ready to serve.
- Put the potatoes in a pan of salted water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Drain and toss with the olive oil and vinegar. Put the lid on the pan and leave the potatoes to cool.
- Heat the oven to fan 180°c, mark 6. Line a baking sheet with foil and lay the pancetta slices out on the foil. Cook in the oven for about 8-10 minutes until deep golden and crispy. Transfer the pancetta to a piece of absorbent kitchen paper to soak up any excess fat. Set aside.
- Bring a pan of water to the boil. Carefully lower in the eggs and cook for 7 minutes. Drain and leave in cold water for at least 10 minutes. Peel off the shells and halve the eggs.
- When you are ready to eat pour the dressing into a pot and place in the centre of a platter or large wide, shallow bowl. Either chop all the salad ingredients into bite-size pieces and place in a large salad bowl or arrange the potatoes, pancetta slices, eggs, chicken, blue cheese, avocado, lettuce, cherry tomatoes and black olives around the platter or bowl and serve as soon as possible.