Chicken Salad & Precision Cutting

Tonight, I decided to practise precision cutting vegetables as per  Unit Kitchen lesson 1 of my patisserie course. Over the next few days, J & I will be eating salads and soups and whatever that allows me to practise  ‘cutting’ vegetables for my assessment in lesson 5. It sounds unbelievable even to my own ears that I am extremely nervous over something that’s seemingly basic but prior to starting this course, everything was either sliced, diced or chopped. Ok the closest I’ve come to a french cut is julienne. Other cuts like Brunoise (2mm cubes), Paysanne (peasant or farmer style), Jardiniere (small batons) and chiffonnade (shreds) are foreign terms to me but I’m warming up to those names. And they do roll off the tongue a little fancier don’t you think? Oui? Non?
And I can’t believe I’ve been slicing onions the wrong way! 

Anyway, I rummaged through my fridge today and found half a raw papaya used for the ‘yee sang’ last week, carrots, lemons, whole cucumbers (unused from the day I made Satay but still fresh), and nectarines from mom which I concassed instead of tomatoes. For the chiffonnade, I plucked some cos lettuce leaves from the garden as they’re growing like wildfire. Ok, all ingredients in check, it was time to cut.





First up was Julienne Carrot:
2mm x 2mm x 40mm strips
(Yes, I used a ruler!) GAH!









And from the Julienne Carrots, further cut into Brunoise (Broon-Wah) Carrot
2mm x 2mm cubes

I also had Brunoise Onions but the photo was bad







This is Chiffonade Lettuce:  lettuce leaves that have been rolled up and thinly sliced so they look like fine shreds.








Parsley and Coriander from the garden: chopped finely for garnishing. chopped product depicted in picture below, above the cherry tomatoes.










Assembling my ingredients for the salad;
My little ‘mise en place’ (Meez-uhn-plus)
which means everything in its place i.e. ingredients are prepared and organised before you can start cooking.




 To complete the salad, I pan-fried some chicken thighs which I marinated with a spice blend I found in the fridge; sumac, mint and tarragon. For the dressing, I combined 30ml lemon juice, 30ml red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and 3 teaspoons of sugar, 5 basil leaves and one crushed clove of garlic and emulsified the mixture by vigorously whisking in (drop-by-drop) 100ml of extra virgin olive oil. The standard recipe is 3 parts oil to 1 part acid but I prefer more tang  hence more of the sour stuff! Hehe.

The salad was yummy but I have to practise plating my dish for eye appeal. In the garden salad segment of our class, my crest of tomatoes were resting slightly flat on my salad ensemble hence the instructor’s feedback  ” a little more height would be good”. So tonight, I tried to give it height by placing the chiffonade lettuce on top but it still looked a little weird to me, like a misshapen mountain surrounded by a chicken moat. 😉 Boo-hoo
Nevermind, more reason to practise.

Yummy chicken salad with green raw papaya shredds, chiffonnade lettuce, sliced onions, nectarine concasses, julienned carrots, paysanne cucumbers, dressed in red wine, basil and garlic vinaigrette


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