Chicken Salad à la Danny Kaye YIELD: 4 SERVINGS TO MOST AMERICANS, Danny Kaye is remembered as a splendid comedian and actor. I think of him as a friend and one of the finest cooks I have ever known. In every way, Danny was equal to or better than any trained chef. His technique was flawless. The speed at which he worked was on par with what you’d find in a Parisian brigade de cuisine. Danny taught me a great deal, mostly about Chinese cuisine, his specialty. Whenever I traveled to Los Angeles, Danny picked me up at the airport and took me to his house, where we cooked Chinese or French food. His poached chicken was the best I have ever had. His method was to put the chicken in a small stockpot, cover it with tepid water seasoned with salt, peppercorns, and vegetables, and cook it at a gentle boil for only 10 minutes, then set it aside off the heat for 45 minutes. As an added touch, he always stuck a handful of knives, forks, and spoons into the cavity of the chicken, to keep it submerged. The result is so moist, tender, and flavorful that I have used the recipe—minus the flatware—ever since. CHICKEN 1 chicken, about 3½ pounds ½ cup sliced carrot 1 cup sliced onion 1 small leek, washed and left whole 1 rib celery, washed and left whole 1 teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns 2 sprigs thyme 2 bay leaves About 7 cups tepid water, or more if needed DRESSING 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ½ teaspoon Tabasco hot pepper sauce 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil GARNISHES 1 dozen Boston lettuce leaves, cleaned 2 dozen fresh tarragon leaves FOR THE CHICKEN: Place the chicken breast side down in a tall, narrow pot, so it fits snugly at the bottom. Add the remaining poaching ingredients. The chicken should be submerged, and the water should extend about 1 inch above it. Bring to a gentle boil, cover, and let boil gently for two minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, and set it aside to steep in the hot broth for 45 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot, and set it aside on a platter to cool for a few minutes. (The stock can be strained and frozen for up to 6 months for use in soup.) Pick the meat from the chicken bones, discarding the skin, bones, and fat. Shred the meat with your fingers, following the grain and pulling it into strips. (The meat tastes better shredded than diced with a knife.) FOR THE DRESSING: Mix together all the dressing ingredients in a bowl large enough to hold the chicken salad. Add the chicken shreds to the dressing and toss well. Arrange the Boston lettuce leaves in a “nest” around the periphery of a platter, and spoon the room-temperature chicken salad into the center. Sprinkle with the tarragon leaves and serve.