A few months ago I went on a trawl of the Parisian antique markets at Porte de Clignancourt, the last stop on the Metro. If you haven't been there yet, you must go. The quality and range of things for sale is good, and the stands are arranged with Gallic elan. All was dandy, apart from one desperate furniture dealer who tried to flog me a third division bureau, which she insisted had been made by the ebiniste Reisner for none other than Louis XVI. Well.
To escape this outrage, we stopped off at a small unpretentious bistro. One of the dishes they came up with was this simple chicken salad. It was delicious, and the slightly unusual curried vinaigrette worked surprisingly well.
Up until then, I had been slighly suspicious of the use of curry in French cooking, thinking that the French didn't really understand how to use it properly. You will find Sauce Indienne in French cuisine, and usually they just stir in uncooked curry powder into a mayonnaise or a bechamel sauce. The Indians (and Brits!) know that they need to cook the spices first- to bring out the full flavour and get rid of that rather bitter taste.
Anyway, here's my adapted version of what I had that day- and I think it works. Try it out for yourself. First, I chopped up some organic chicken breasts into thick slices. You could also chop them up into chunks. Brush some honey over them, and season them with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Shove them under a grill.
Now you need to make the curry vinaigrette. In a small bowl add a dollop of curry paste (I used a Madras paste- may have been too strong), Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and a tablespoon of sugar.
Next, slowly pour in some good grapeseed oil. As you stir it around, you should end up with a thickish emulsion, a bit like a sloppy mayonnaise.
On the serving plate, arrange some fresh crunchy lettuce. Place the grilled chicken, which should be nice and golden in colour, yet not over-cooked. Drizzle the vinaigrette over it. You could of course add other salady ingredients (the Parisian version had tomatoes), but I'm currently a fan of all things simple (and all things green) when it comes to salad, so I just added some chopped tarragon, which worked well with the chicken. Season again with Maldon salt, and pepper, and squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over the salad. Bon Appetit.