Verjuice-poached chicken salad with basil salad cream

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This is a very simple summer salad using one of my favourite ingredients, Verjuice!!
But what is verjuice?
Verjuice is a seasoning made by pressing unripe fruit. It has a very tart flavour thanks to a high acid content and it can be used like vinegar or lemon juice in a variety of recipes. Traditionally, verjuice is made from unripened grapes, but it can also be made from apples and other fruits. If a recipe calls for verjuice and none is available, people can use other tart ingredients as a substitute.
This seasoning became extremely popular during the medieval era, and was seen in numerous recipes during this period. Unlike lemon juice and vinegar, it will not alter the perception of flavors in the wines served with food, and may be recommended as a seasoning for meals that will be served with wine so that the wine and food pairings do not clash. It can be used in dressings and sauces, as well as to deglaze pans and add a tart flavour to marinades and a variety of dishes ranging from fish to red meats.
Do try to find verjuice, It is available in some Sainsbury store and a good delicatessen should also stock, if they don't ask them if it would be possible to order some in for you. It is a very versitle store cupboard ingredient and well worth seeking out.

Serves 4;


fresh bay leaves
black peppercorns
sprigs thyme
sprigs flat-leaf parsley
chicken breast fillets
baby endive leaves
baby rocket leaves
baby cos lettuce, trimmed, washed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
extra-virgin olive oil
white wine vinegar
avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and cut into 1cm-thick slices
Cherry tomatoes cut in halves 

Basil salad cream;

pouring cream
sour cream
Dijon mustard
lemon juice, or to taste
¼ cup  
coarsely chopped basil


Place verjuice, bay leaves, peppercorns and herbs in a large, deep frying pan and bring to the boil, then simmer for 3 minutes. Add chicken and simmer over very low heat for 10 minutes or until chicken is just tender. Remove pan from heat and stand, covered, for 12 minutes. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon, discard cooking liquid, then cool slightly and tear into bite-sized pieces.

For basil salad cream, combine creams, mustard and lemon juice in a small bowl, season to taste and whisk to combine. Cover closely with cling film and refrigerate until required. Just before serving, stir in chopped basil. Makes about ¾ cup.

Place salad leaves in a large, shallow bowl, add olive oil and vinegar, season to taste and toss to combine. Place the salad between 4 plates, then top with avocado, cherry tomatoes and chicken. Drizzle with a little basil salad cream and serve, with remaining basil salad cream passed separately.

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