(adapted from cooks illustrated)
*When cutting the tomatoes, cut in quarters and then use a sharp knife to scoop out the core and remove the seeds from the tomato’s flesh. Place the cores and seeds and any liquid into a sieve set over a bowl. The Tomato juice will make part of the dressing. Proceed to cut up the tomato flesh into a medium chop.
- 170g (6 ounces) French bread or Italian bread, cut into small cubes (about 4 cups)
- 9 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (you may need a bit more)
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 2 chicken breast – skinless, boneless, skinless trimmed and cut into uniform sizes and thickness
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 680g (1 ½ pound, about 4 large) tomatoes, cored and chopped medium, juice reserved
- 1 x400g (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 4 green onions, sliced thin
- 10g (¼ cup) chopped fresh basil leaves
- 85g (about 3 cups) rocket
Heat oven to 220℃ (450℉).
In a medium bowl, toss the bread cubes with 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
Heat another 2 tablespoons of oil (you may need more depending on the non-stick ability of your pan) in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Carefully lay the chicken in the skillet and brown lightly on both sides, about 2 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.
Turn off the heat and spread the bread cubes evenly into the pan. Lay the chicken on top of the bread and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake until the thickest part of the breast is cooked through (you can check by cutting through a piece of chicken, or using an instant-read thermometer) and the bread is browned in spots, 12 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large salad bowl combine the tomatoes with their juice, chickpeas, scallions, and basil, add 6 tablespoons of olive oil, vinegar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and season with pepper and set aside to allow the flavors to develop.
Transfer the chicken to a carving board, let cool slightly, then cut into 1-inch chunks. Gently fold the chicken, and rocket into the tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the croutons to the top of the salad just before serving.
**Though this salad is best served super fresh if you want to make it ahead of time. Cook the chicken and croutons, as soon as they come out of the oven, separate the chicken and croutons. This can be done up to six hours ahead of time. Ten minutes before serving, combine the salad ingredients with the dressing, giving the flavors time to meld before adding the salad and dressing to the chicken and rocket and serving the croutons on top.