Smoked Chicken Salad with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Cook, Dinner, Healthy Eating, In Season, Mains, Recipes, Summer

Smoked Chicken Salad with Cherry Roasted TomatoesThis simple chicken and tomato salad gains extra flavor from a basil dressing, but the croutons really steal the show. Savory Parmesan polenta cubes become crispy, panfried delicacies, adding crunch and a hint of sweet cornmeal.


Smoked Chicken Salad with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes


For the croutons:

2 cups (14 oz./440 g) instant polenta

4 Tbs. (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter

2⁄3 cup (3 oz./90 g) grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tbs. olive oil


For the dressing:

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp. grated lemon zest

2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbs. prepared pesto


2 cups (3⁄4 lb./375 g) cherry tomatoes

3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1⁄2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

1 smoked or roasted whole chicken breast


To make the polenta croutons, in a large, heavy saucepan, cook the polenta according to package instructions. Remove from the heat and vigorously stir in the butter and cheese until evenly distributed. Rinse a 12-by-17-inch (30-by-43-cm) rimmed baking sheet with cold water and shake it dry. Immediately mound the polenta in the pan and, working quickly and using a spatula repeatedly dipped in hot water, spread the polenta in an even layer about 1⁄2 inch (12 mm) thick. Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand for at least 1 hour at room temperature, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Remove the chilled polenta from the refrigerator about 1 hour before using. Cut the polenta into 1⁄2-inch (12-mm) cubes.


In a frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the 2 Tbs. olive oil. When hot, add the polenta cubes, in batches as needed to avoid crowding, and sauté until lightly browned on all sides. Transfer to paper towels to drain.


To make the dressing, in a glass measuring pitcher, whisk together the 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest and juice and pesto.  Set aside.


Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C). Put the cherry tomatoes in a bowl and drizzle with the 3 Tbs. olive oil and sprinkle with 1⁄4 tsp. each salt and pepper and the thyme. Toss to coat. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until their skins are wrinkled but not yet collapsed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.


Lower the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C). Wrap the chicken breast in foil and place it in the oven to warm, about 15 minutes. Remove it and slice it very thinly.


Arrange the chicken slices on a serving platter. Top with the cherry tomatoes and drizzle with some of the pesto dressing. Sprinkle with the polenta croutons, add another drizzle of the pesto dressing and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Williams-Sonoma Salad of the Day
Find more vibrant and versatile salads for every season in our cookbook Salad of the Day, by Georgeanne Brennan.




3 comments about “Smoked Chicken Salad with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

  1. Maria

    How about details on how to cook the smoked chicken breast?
    Ingredients indicate one whole chicken breast – and serves four? The photo looks like a full chicken breast sliced up on the plate – presume that is “one serving”.

    1. Williams-Sonoma

      Hi Maria, you can grill or roast the chicken breasts; here are a few recipes with good guidelines on cooking them:

      As for the quantity, one whole chicken breast means two halves — that is, both pieces of breast meat from one chicken. Divided four ways, that should be plenty for a lunch or light meal, along with the rest of the ingredients. Of course, if you like, you can increase the quantity to four breast halves and make a heartier dish.

      Hope this helps!


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