Cold-chicken salad with tarragon-cream dressing and pea shoots

A creamy tarragon dressing is the perfect accompaniment to this chicken and pea-shoot salad.

Cold-chicken salad with tarragon-cream dressing and pea shoots (serves 4 as a light luncheon dish served with warm new potatoes)


For the salad

  • Cooked chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • Fresh pea shoots (I suggest 2 bags, available in Waitrose)

For the dressing

  • 2 eggs
  • 2tbspn caster sugar
  • 4tbspn tarragon vinegar (or white-wine vinegar, but up the quantity of tarragon leaves a little)
  • 200ml double cream
  • A scant tablespoon of freshly chopped tarragon
  • A touch of olive oil, lemon juice and seasoning to dress

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Beat the eggs, caster sugar and vinegar together with a pinch of salt in the top of a double boiler (or in a stainless-steel or china bowl suspended over barely simmering water) until thick—the whisk should leave thick trails through the mixture (use an electric hand whisk for the speediest and best results).

Remove from the heat and continue beating until lukewarm, then leave until cold.

Loosely whip the cream and fold into the sauce, together with the chopped tarragon.

Either arrange the sliced breasts on one large and handsome dish or divide between four plates as individual servings. Either way, lavish the meat with the tarragon-cream dressing, dress the pea shoots and serve forthwith.

If serving with new potatoes, present them separately in a bowl, turned through a modicum of best butter, to please all.