A chocolate salad dressing? How else would you dress a salad during this month of love? Don’t let the unusual flavour combinations of this salad dissuade you—juicy meat and mellow mozzarella are brazenly balanced with sweet-tart chocolate balsamic vinegar dressing. Blasting strawberries in the oven is a method to coax out more of their inherent sweetness as the flavour of the berries cooks down and concentrates. If desired, you can use chicken breast instead of turkey.
It sounds all chef-y, but poaching is really nothing more than gently cooking food in a liquid with the primary goal of keeping lean meats such as turkey and chicken breast juicy and plump. Ideally, you want to keep the water temperature at 160 F (71 C) while the meat cooks and skim off any foam on the water surface.
1 lb (450 g) boneless organic turkey breast
3 cups (750 mL) no-salt-added organic chicken broth
3/4 tsp (4 mL) salt, divided
3 cups (750 mL) strawberries, stems removed and halved
2 tsp (10 mL) fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 oz (43 g) dark chocolate
2 Tbsp (30 mL) balsamic vinegar
1 tsp (5 mL) honey
1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp (45 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) cacao nibs
8 cups (2 L) tender salad greens
1 large orange bell pepper, sliced
2 green onions, sliced
3 oz (85 g) fresh mozzarella, torn into 1 in (2.5 cm) pieces
1/4 cup (60 mL) sliced toasted almonds
In large pot, place turkey, broth, and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt. Add enough water to pot so that turkey is completely covered by liquid by at least 1 in (2.5 cm). Bring liquid to a temperature where it is steaming, with just the rare bubble breaking the surface. Reduce heat, partially cover pot, and poach for 20 minutes, or until meat is cooked through to an internal temperature of 165 F (74 C).
Remove turkey from water and, when cool enough to handle, thinly slice.
Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 F (180 C). Gently toss strawberries with lemon juice and a couple pinches of salt. Arrange strawberry halves in a single layer on parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes.
In small bowl, microwave chocolate on high power in 15-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until melted. Alternatively, use a double boiler. Stir in balsamic vinegar, honey, mustard, and remaining 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt. Add olive oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Stir in cacao nibs.
Divide salad greens among serving plates and top with sliced orange pepper, green onions, and turkey. Scatter on mozzarella, almonds, and roasted strawberries. Drizzle on dressing.