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Jul 20, 2009 05:46 AM

Chicken Breasts for Salad - Best Prep?

I'm making salads topped with chicken tonight and was curious as to how you prep the breasts. I was going to just poach, but am open to suggestions!


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  1. Loved poached. Honey-mustard grilled?

      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        Me too. Actually, I cut the heat off, and watch them like a hawk. Get them out after checking for pink or use a probe thermometer if you're not comfortable. The steam actually does a wonderful job at keeping them moist. I had lobster once steamed in a Chinese restaurant, and they had added mint, it was the most delicious thing I'd ever had. Delicate and back notes of mint. I know that sounds different, but it was sooo good. I'm thinking it would work with the chicken?

      2. I'll vote for poached as well. I do the boneless breasts in a large stockpot of unsalted boiling water. Once I add the breasts, I allow the water to just return to a boil, cover, turn off the heat and let them steep for 4 to 5 hours. Exponentially juicy!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chefpaulo

          I don't have quite 4 to 5 hours, but I can definitely let them steep while we take the small fry for a walk. I'm always worried about overcooking when I poach. (Usually because I'm trying to bathe said small fry whilst cooking.)

          1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

            They only need to simmer for 20 minutes or steep for maybe 30. And do shred rather than cube.

        2. I definitely am with the "poach" crowd AND I've read that shredding the chicken after poaching is better for the salad than cutting it into cubes...there was a thread about that recently on this board--I have yet to try it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Val

            Val, i think that discussion about shredding the chicken was more for when you're making a chicken salad with a binder/dressing (like egg salad, potato salad, etc), rather than when using the chicken to top a green or vegetable salad...but sometimes it's nice that way too!

          2. When I poach I add carrot, celery and onion, in chunks; and boil 'em up for about 30 minutes. Then I add the breasts (preferably with skin-on) and simmer for a while. And then, like @chefpaulo does, let 'em steep for a few hours, getting to room temp.

            If you wanted to get really fancy (and you have a grill pan or gas grill) you could fire it up really hot and put grill marks on the cooked breasts - for added eye and flavor appeal.

            You can grill chicken to chill and use for salads; the chicken should be brined first so it stays juicy.

            1 Reply
            1. re: shaogo

              i'm also a poacher, but several hours is overkill, unless the pieces are enormous.

              and i also always add aromatics, depending on the salad, ginger is nice in the liquid, sub out some wine for some water, or use chicken stock.