Tomato and buffalo mozzarella salad with eggplant and poached chicken

poached-chicken-buffalo-mozzarella-salad

In my opinion, buffalo mozzarella is one of the most delicious foods on earth – particularly when served with fresh ripe tomatoes and basil. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that milk and milk products from the domestic buffalo are easier on the digestive system that cow’s milk and cheese. Buffalo milk (and cheese) is also thought to help those with eczema and psoriasis and be beneficial for those with irritable bowel syndrome.

Rocket (known in the US as arugala) is a lesser known cruciferous vegetable (think broccoli, cauliflower and kale) and is high in vitamins K and A and provides a bitter flavour that is complimented wonderfully by the balsamic dressing.

For extra protein, I like to mix through some poached chicken breast which on its own can be bland but in this dish provides a good textural balance and a light flavour that doesn’t overpower the rest of the dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 large chicken breast (choose organic or free range)
  • 1 buffalo mozzarella (approximately 125g)
  • 100g rocket (you can substitute with mixed salad leaves)
  • 14 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small eggplant, sliced horizontally so that the pieces are about 1.5cm or half an inch thick
  • half an avocado
  • half a dozen basil leaves
  • 4 medium sized button mushrooms (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons good quality balsamic
  • 3 generous tablespoons cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add a pinch of salt and pepper
  2. Add the chicken breast and ensure that it’s completely covered by the water, then cover the saucepan with a lid and reduce the heat to a low simmer
  3. Allow to cook for 15 minutes and check to make sure the chicken is cooked through. If not cook for a few minutes more ensuring not to overcook (otherwise it will become rubbery). Remove from the heat and allow to cool
  4. Meanwhile, bring a char grill pan to a medium high heat and while it’s heating brush the eggplant with ~2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place in the pan and cook for approximately 7 minutes each side until nicely charred then remove from the heat and set aside
  5. Place the remaining olive oil and balsamic in a small glass jar with a lid and mix well
  6. Chop the cherry tomatoes in half and tear the basil leaves so that there’s enough to place on each of the tomatoes. Add to a salad bowl and combine with the salad leaves, avocado and mushrooms if you’re using them, then mix through half to 2 thirds of the dressing as required
  7. Divide into 2 bowls and place half the eggplant on top of each
  8. Tear the buffalo mozzarella and divide evenly between the two bowls
  9. Once the chicken has cooked down slice it and place half on each of the salads then drizzle with the remaining dressing

Serves 2

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