Salad is a staple of Freds at Barneys New York. The acclaimed department store restaurant does swift business of its signatures, like the chopped chicken salad.
“We roast 24 to 48 chickens per day, every single day, at Freds — specifically for this salad,” chef Mark Strausman notes in his new cookbook, “The Freds at Barneys New York Cookbook,” out this week.
Strausman recommends cooking it at least three hours ahead so it has time to cool before lunch.
Freds chopped chicken salad with balsamic dressing
Serves 4 as a main course, 6 as an appetizer
For the chicken
1 (4-lb.) chicken, preferably all natural or organic
1 1⁄2 tbsp. salt
1⁄2 bunch fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
4 large handfuls preferred salad blend
1 cup 1-in. diced fresh pears, sprinkled with 1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup string beans, blanched and cut into 1-in. pieces
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1⁄2 cup minced onion
2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1-in. cubes
Balsamic dressing (see recipe), to taste
To roast the chicken: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is heating, prepare the chicken. Quarter the lemon and squeeze 1 tbsp. of juice to set aside for the pears. Place the rack in the roasting pan. Rinse the chicken, rub 1 tbsp. of the salt around the inside of the cavity, and then stuff it with the thyme, lemon and garlic. Tie the legs closed with cooking twine. Rub the olive oil over the entire bird, and sprinkle with the remaining 1⁄2 tbsp. salt and the black pepper. Place on the rack and roast for 72 to 80 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a meat thermometer into the leg, close to the bone. The chicken is done when the thermometer reads 165 degrees. Remove the thermometer if the chicken is not done, and test again in a few minutes. Remove from the oven and set the chicken aside to cool.
When cool enough to handle (remember, it will be hotter internally), remove the meat from the bones: We use food-handling gloves when pulling apart the chicken. Make sure you have a large container nearby to put the meat in. First, remove the skin from the chicken. Then pull off the wings, legs and thighs and remove the meat from them. To remove the breasts, place your thumbs on either side of the breastbone and slide your finger underneath the breast, between the breast and the bone, moving up and down to loosen the meat. Use your hands to shred the breasts into 2-inch strips. At the bottom of the breast is the wishbone. Find it to make sure the thin pieces are not stuck to the breast meat so they won’t find their way to the plate. If the wishbone is intact, make a wish and break it. There is meat on the back of the carcass, so make sure to pull that off, as well as any meat that’s remaining on the bone. If you’re not going to make the salad for a few hours, place the chicken meat in the fridge, but be sure to remove it and let come to room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes before you serve it, to bring out the best flavor.
To compose the salad: In a large stainless-steel mixing bowl, combine the greens, pear, beans, tomatoes, onion, avocado and half of the chicken meat. Add some of the dressing and toss to make sure everything is lightly coated, adding more dressing if needed. Divide the mixture among four or six plates, distributing it equally. Lay the rest of the chicken on top and serve immediately, passing the remaining dressing in case people want to add more.
Makes 1 1⁄2 cups
1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
1⁄4 cup Dijon mustard
1⁄4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp. sugar (optional)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place all the ingredients except the oil in a food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds, until everything is mixed together. With the machine on low, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified.
Excerpted from the book “The Freds at Barneys New York Cookbook” by Mark Strausman; with Susan Littlefield. Copyright © 2018 by Mark Strausman. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.