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Torn Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese and Gems

Paul HeathcoteThis recipe for Torn Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese and Gems comes from Chef Paul Heathcote who is supporting the 10th Manchester Food & Drink Festival in 2007.

After studying at Bolton Catering College, Paul worked at a variety of venues. During these apprenticeship years, he worked with four people who were to prove lasting inspirations - Francis Coulson and Brian Sack at Sharrow Bay Hotel in Ullswater, Cumbria, Michel Bourdin at London's Connaught hotel and Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux'Quat Saisons in Oxfordshire - before taking on the role of executive head chef at Broughton Park hotel in Preston.

In 1990 he took the plunge and opened his first restaurant at Longridge in Preston, which won its second Michelin star in 1994 and was renamed Longridge in 2003. In 1995, he launched the first Simply Heathcotes (then called Heathcotes Brasserie and now the Winckley Square Chop House and Bar) in Preston and its basement became the first Olive Press restaurant in 2002. In 1997, he expanded further by setting up his sports and events catering arm Heathcotes Outside and launching the Paul Heathcote School of Excellence in Manchester.

To find out more more about the 10th Manchester Food & Drink Festival in 2007 <click here>

Here is a salad that is fresh and vibrant; simply roast chicken, leaves and blue cheese make a great healthy and nutritional option but it is packed with flavour.

Ingredients for Torn Chicken Salad

1 small roasted chicken
2 baby gems
2 slices white bread, crusts removed
4 slices of smoked streaky bacon cut into 1cm strips
100g soft blue cheese i.e. Gorgonzola
4 dessertspoons natural Greek yoghurt
Dash of water
Olive oil
Clove garlic crushed
Sea salt
Black pepper

How to make Torn Chicken Salad

  • First cut the sliced bread into 1 cm cubes and shallow fry with the bacon in a little olive oil until golden brown. Drain onto kitchen paper.
  • Cut the bottom off the gems, wash, pat dry and toss in a bowl with a little olive oil.
  • Scatter the leaves between 6 plates and using your fingers tear strips off the breast of chicken. Scatter over the bacon and croutons.
  • Beat the blue cheese in a bowl until smooth and fold in the yoghurt and garlic. Add a dash of water to make pouring consistency.
  • Drizzle over the salad and a season with a pinch of sea salt and freshly milled black pepper.

Serves 6

Chef Paul Heathcote