Makes 6 servings
This unusual potato salad with chicken makes a great main course for guests. It can be served warm or prepared in advance to serve at room temperature. For the best flavor -- and appearance too -- select yams (or red sweet potatoes) with orange flesh rather than their yellow cousins.
For the salad
3 cups yam (red sweet potato) peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (1 large or 2 medium-size yams)
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves, cut into 1-inch squares
Dash of freshly ground pepper
For the Balsamic Vinaigrette
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
Dash of freshly ground pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
To complete the recipe
2 plum tomatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 scallions, chopped
4 large leaves leaf lettuce
Freshly ground pepper and sprigs of fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Put the yam in a medium microwave-proof dish; add about ¼ cup water. Cover and microwave on high for about 5 minutes (turning the dish half way through), or until just tender. Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water. (If you prefer, the yam cubes can be steamed in a stovetop steamer.)
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until it is lightly browned and cooked through. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate; sprinkle it with pepper and set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients, except the fresh basil (if using); make certain the brown sugar is dissolved. Stir in the fresh basil (if using). Taste and adjust the seasoning.
In a large mixing bowl, toss together the yam, chicken, plum tomatoes, and scallions. Whisk the vinaigrette; add ¼ cup to the salad and toss again.
Transfer the mixture to a large refrigerator container; cover and allow to chill for at least 1 hour. Serve chilled or allow to come to room temperature.
To assemble the servings, arrange lettuce leaves on serving plates. Top each with a mound of the salad mixture. Whisk the remaining Balsamic Vinaigrette; drizzle about 2 tablespoons over each serving. Garnish with a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper and sprigs of fresh basil or parsley.
If dried basil is used, the vinaigrette will keep for up to 1 week in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator. If fresh basil is used, it will keep for 4 days. The salad will keep in the refrigerator for 2 days. Assemble the plates with the additional dressing just before serving.
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