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  • Writer's pictureChef Dylan

CHICKEN AVO PASTA SALAD




Say goodbye to boring salads with this wholesome dish of Argentinian spiced chicken, creamy avocado, sweet pops of fresh corn, and a lusciously light lemony mayo dressing.

This salad is more versatile than Leonardo Da Vinci’s intellect because there are so many ways you can vary this dish. You can add bacon, swap the chicken for salmon, add cherry tomatoes or Persian feta, I could go on and on but you’ll see what I mean once you make this very simple but extremely flavourful salad you will be inspired to get creative.


The marvellous thing about this dish is that as it’s served cold its perfect as a hearty lunch for work, for a picnic down by the beach or to simply sit with a loved one at the Hang gliders look out with a cold glass of rose, my personal local favourite is the latest vintage from Witches Falls winery.


Did you know? There is an 85 year old avocado tree on Tamborine Mountain that still produces more than a ton of fruit a year! Originally planted in 1930 as a wind break in the 1950s the Mount Tamborine farmer decided to turn his windbreak into a commercial crop thus kickstarting the the avocado industry in Queensland. Avocados originally came from Mexico and Central America, where the indigenous Nahua people enjoyed them. The Nahuatl word āhuacatl pronounced ‘ah-you-a catil’ also happens to mean ‘testicles’ and scholars think the Nahua chose the name because of the fruits a, ummmm, let’s just say somewhat suggestive shape. They were also considered an aphrodisiac. Once the Spanish arrived they changed the name to ‘augacate’ but it was the Americans who really popularised the fruit in the west. They struggled with the pronunciation, however, so tried to market it as ‘avagato pear’ and ‘alligator pear’ but it didn’t catch on until they settled on the now familiar household name ‘avocado’.


Chef Dylan tips: 1. Find a local Avocado at a roadside stall or get one from Joseph the Greengrocer on Main street. 2. Cook the pasta just under al dente as it will soften up in the salad. 3. Use fresh corn. 4. Use a whole egg mayonnaise


A small town on the outskirts of Mendoza Argentina 2017

Turning towards my sweetheart “Are you sure you put in the right address?” I ask as I stare out in disbelief at a vast barren field with rugged gleaming mountains in the distance. She shoots me a look that says careful with your tone “Of course I did, here look” she replies handing me the phone. I switch off the car to take a look at the Airbnb reservation and sure enough, the little blue dot on google maps says we are in the right place. How can this be? I think to myself. “I’ll have to turn on the Data roaming and give the host a call” I say as I tap in the number listed and put it on loud speaker.


“¡Diga!” Says a gruff voice “Hola, ¿Hablas englés signore?” I answer. “Yes who is this?” “It’s Dylan your guest for this evening”. “Ahhhh sí Dyl-an” he confirms. “Are you sure the address is correct signore? We are here but there is only a vacant field”. “Sí sí you are very close, you just have to drive down one more kilometre on the road. You will see a discoteca called ‘Disco Angelico’. There turn in the car park and follow that down through a small driveway at the back and I’ll meet you there. “Okaaaay, I’ll try that. Gracias” I say a little confused “Bueno ¡hasta pronto! Ciao” Click.


I turn on the engine and continue on down the empty road until I see a long white single story building with ‘Disco Angelico ’spray painted in large red letters with hoops of barbed wire surrounding a flat tin roof. It reminds me of some B grade horror movie where the innocent couple spend their last night on earth. I hesitantly pull in to the driveway and hear glass breaking under the wheels. ‘I hope this is not how it ends’ I think as the scene flashes through my mind ‘the brave driver gets out to see if the tyres are damaged and suddenly he is smothered from behind as his passenger screams’ I shake it off.


Out of nowhere I see a charming tiny house made out of wood. It looks so out of place. Then out the front door comes a smiling handsome young Gaucho, an Argentinian cowboy, adorned in a traditional hat and dressed in a long white t-shirt and jeans. He greets us warmly “I’m Andreas, Bienvenido” he says with a firm calloused handshake “I’ve just opened a bottle of Malbec. Will you join me for a glass while I give you the grand tour?” he says with a twinkle in his eye. “Sounds lovely” we both say “I built this place with only what I could find locally” he proudly says as the delightful glug glug of Malbec fills 3 glasses “Once you get settled in I’m sure you’ll get to love it here as much as I do. Salud. Cheers, welcome!” says Andreas as the glasses clink. I take a sip and take a deep sigh and instantly relax. I think ‘Ahhhh yes delicious. This is why I came to Mendoza.’


PREP TIME: 10 mins

COOKING TIME: 20 mins

SERVINGS: 4


INGREDIENTS

  • 250 g penne pasta

  • 300 g whole chicken breast

  • 2 corn on the cob

  • 2 tbs GAUCHO

  • 1 tbs olive oil

  • 2 large ripe avocados

  • 4 tbsp whole egg mayonnaise

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 tsp dijon mustard

  • 1/2 cup rocket leaves

  • 50g parmesan or tasty cheese

  • Oil for cooking

  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

METHOD

  1. In a bowl mix the GAUCHO with olive oil to make a marinade. Add chicken and coat evenly.

  2. Remove the husk of the corn and snap or cut in half.

  3. Boil the pasta for 1 minute less than the packet instructions fro a slightly more al dente bite Add a generous pinch of salt to water. Strain the pasta once cooked and rinse under cold water until cold. Strain off as much water as possible.

  4. In a seperate pot boil some water to cook the corn for 3 mins then remove and run under cold water until cool.

  5. Heat a fry pan to medium high heat and fry the chicken for 8 mins one side and 4 mins the other or until cooked then let it rest in the pan and save the pan juices.

  6. Slice and avocado into chunks and carefully slice off the corn kernels. Slice chicken.

  7. Make the dressing. Add the mayo, lemon juice, pan juices, mustard to a bowl and mix well. Add some seasoning to taste.

  8. Transfer the pasta to a large mixing bowl and mix trough the dressing.

  9. Artfully arrange the sliced chicken, avocado, corn and rocket leaves.

TO SERVE


Grate the cheese on top. Serve with a lovely glass of Malbec or your favourite chilled white if you aren't into red wines.

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