Valentine Warner’s spring chicken salad

  • serves 4
  • A little effort

Make the most of seasonal spring veg in this fresh, light salad. Poached chicken is tossed with carrots, fennel, broad beans and chives and a mustardy, herby vinaigrette.



  • skinless chicken breasts 2
  • white wine 100ml
  • onion 1 small, halved
  • thyme 3-4 sprigs
  • bay leaf 1
  • black peppercorns 6
  • small broad beans 150g, podded
  • baby carrots 16, trimmed
  • fennel 1 small bulb, trimmed
  • chives a small handful, trimmed
  • tarragon 5-6 sprigs, leaves stripped
  • small capers 1 level tbsp, drained
  • curly parsley handful, roughly chopped


  • white wine vinegar 2 good tsp
  • lemon ⅓, squeezed
  • new season’s garlic 1 clove
  • Dijon mustard 2 tsp
  • golden caster sugar 1½ tsp
  • flaked sea salt ½ tsp
  • olive oil 3 tbsp


  • Step 1

    Put the chicken breasts in a saucepan and pour over the wine. Add 200ml cold water, the onion, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns. Cook over a moderate heat, cover and bring to a gentle simmer. Poach the chicken for 10 minutes.

  • Step 2

    Strain the chicken and liquor through a fine sieve, reserving the stock. Set the chicken on a board to cool and pour the stock into a clean pan. Bring to the boil, drop in the podded beans, return to the boil and cook for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and refresh in a sieve under running water until cold before draining them. Cook the carrots in the stock for 5 minutes. Refresh and drain them.

  • Step 3

    Squeeze all the beans out of their skins and put in a large serving bowl. Add the carrots. Cut the fennel into wafer-thin slices. Add to the bowl along with the whole chives, tarragon and capers. Scatter in the parsley.

  • Step 4

    Tear the chicken into long shreds and scatter over the salad. Whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients, except the oil, with some black pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil bit by bit until thickened. Season the salad, then drizzle over the vinaigrette and toss lightly before serving.

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 5
  • Fat 10.1g
  • Carbs 11.9g
  • Fibre 5.05g
  • Protein 20.25g
  • Salt 1.2g