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Food & Entertaining

Cool Salad, Crisp Wine

Author: Karen Fernau
Issue: August, 2016, Page 34
Chef Christopher Gross, who for more than 25 years has served French classics at his restaurant, Christopher’s and Crush in Biltmore Fashion Park, believes in matching the dish to the season.

The James Beard Award-winning chef and Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award winner suggests a light, yet filling chicken and potato salad for summertime meals instead of heavier dishes. A drizzle of béarnaise sauce adds flavor and creaminess to a entree salad that can be served for brunch, lunch or dinner on sultry days.

If entertaining, the lion’s share can be prepped long before guests arrive. The chef also recommends letting the salad rest for 30 minutes to remove the chill before serving.

Gross pairs the salad with Willow White, a seyval blanc from D.A.Ranch Winery, a small, family owned vineyard in Arizona’s Verde Valley. The wine coaxes out the refreshing flavors of the chicken, potatoes and béarnaise.

“Willow White is crisp and clean with aromas of honeysuckle,” he says. “A bright acidity on the palate displays flavors of lemon verbena, grapefruit zest and persimmon all the way to its elegant finish.”

Serves 4

Morning Chicken Salad with Herbs and Potatoes

1 boneless chicken breast, 8-10 ounces
Oil for sautéing
1/2 cup warm béarnaise sauce
1 cup red or gold potatoes, cut into
1/8-inch cubes
2 cups baby greens, tossed with olive oil and salt

Béarnaise Sauce

6 tablespoons water
1/4 cup white vinegar
Pinch of cracked, black peppercorns
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
3 tablespoons chopped tarragon
Pinch of salt
3 egg yolks blended with 2 tablespoons water
8 ounces or one cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
photography by Rick Gayle
To make béarnaise sauce, add water, vinegar, peppercorns, shallots, tarragon to a saucepan. Simmer on medium heat until reduced by two-thirds. Reduce heat to low and whisk in egg yolk-water mixture. Whisk constantly until mixture thickens. Next, add butter piece by piece, whisking constantly until melted. Remove pan from heat and strain sauce. Finish with lemon juice and chives. Refrigerate béarnaise sauce for later use.

Place chicken in a deep saucepan; add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. When bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pot, reduce to medium-low. Simmer, skimming foam from the surface, about 12-15 minutes or until all pink has disappeared. Remove from pan and allow to cool before dicing into ¼-inch cubes. Next, heat large skillet on medium-high heat. Coat with olive or canola oil. When hot, add potatoes and saute about 7-10 minutes, turning frequently. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel to absorb remaining oil.

In a large bowl, gently mix chicken, potatoes and warm béarnaise. Divide into four equal portions and place into coffee cups as molds. Refrigerate to allow the chicken and potato to form. About 30 minutes before serving, gently remove chicken mix from molds and place onto individual salad plates. Add equal amounts of mixed green salad to each plate.

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