Tarragon-walnut chicken salad

POSTED: 11:25 AM EDT Apr 26, 2012    UPDATED: 06:34 AM EST Jan 05, 2011 
Salad dressing

Makes 4 servings

The distinctively, seductively nutty flavor and aroma of walnut oil is the essence of this salad. Serve it over red-leaf lettuce leaves or a mixture of signature greens, such as endive, chicory, and escarole.

7 ounces (about 3 cups) farfalle (bow tie pasta)

1 tablespoon olive oil

12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3-inch by ½-inch strips

Dash of freshly ground pepper, or to taste

For the Walnut Vinaigrette

¼ cup red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons walnut oil, preferably roasted

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

¼ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon

? teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste

Dash of salt, or to taste

To complete the recipe

3 plum tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges

2 green onions, coarsely chopped

8 leaves red-leaf lettuce

Freshly ground pepper and toasted chopped walnuts for garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat; add the farfalle. When the water returns to a boil, stir occasionally to separate the farfalle. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until al dente, about 12 to 14 minutes, or according to package instructions.

While the bow ties are cooking, heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken; cook, stirring occasionally, until it is lightly browned and cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes.

While the farfalle and chicken are cooking, whisk together the vinegar, walnut oil, lemon juice, and mustard in a small bowl; stir in the remaining vinaigrette ingredients.

When the chicken is done, transfer it to a plate and lightly sprinkle with pepper; allow to cool. When the farfalle is done, drain and rinse well in cold water, then drain again.

Transfer the farfalle to a large bowl. Add the chicken, tomatoes, and green onions; toss. Add the vinaigrette and toss again. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve the chicken salad atop the lettuce leaves arranged on individual salad plates.

Advance preparation

The vinaigrette will keep in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. The completed salad can be made early the day it is to be served; allow it to come to room temperature and assemble the plates with the lettuce leaves just before serving.