Capon Salad

Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Keep it Simple

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1993

  • About

The combination of succulent poached chicken with a tangy marinade is sublime. This is a classic Renaissance dish from Mantua in the Po Valley, with the sweet and sour flavours so popular in the Quattrocento. All it needs to make a perfect summer main course are some ripe tomatoes and fresh basil, or serve in smaller quantities as a starter. Since capons are hard to come by, you can use a large free-range chicken instead.


  • 1 poached capon or large free-range chicken
  • 200g/7 oz pine nuts
  • 200ml/7 fl oz red wine vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • two 2.5cm/1 in squares of lemon zest
  • two 2.5cm/1 in squares of orange zest
  • 1 heaped tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp mignonette pepper
  • 100g/3½ oz raisins
  • 250ml/8 fl oz best-quality extra virgin olive oil, to dress
  • 8 plum tomatoes, sliced, or Home-dried Tomatoes to serve
  • handful of basil leaves, tom, to serve


    Mise en Place

    Ideally cook the chicken the day before, as described, to allow it time to cool completely.