Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Zesty Chopped Chicken Salad with Vibrant Verde Dressing

Oh hi. How are you? Long time no talk.

It's my fault. Between work and a bad run of luck with my animals I haven't been in the mood to write lately. But I'm putting the 'woe is me' behind and getting back in the saddle, starting with...a salad.

I know I know. It's hard to get jazzed about salad. But when my husband (who has the palate of a 12 year old) got jazzed about this salad I knew I had to share it.

As for me, I'm perfectly happy with some arugula dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and parmesan. But my husband is not. He calls this 'half ass salad.' So if I want to serve salad as dinner I have to go all out. Lots of textures, lots of surprises, LOTS of flavor.

I will now utter the phrase I most detest from fellow foodies. Deep breath... Making your own croutons really makes a difference here. Like a major, ginormous, cute and perky Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls versus scary plastic Lindsay Lohan today difference. See how much I feel like I have to justify sounding like a douche? Okay I feel better.

Anyway, they really do make a difference. And if lazy a#$ like me can do it, you can do it. You get crunch from the freshly toasted ciabatta chunks, toasted pecans and juicy tart apple, creamy savoriness from black beans and cheddar cheese, and a kick of flavor from jalapeño slices and chopped green onion. Chicken breast seasoned with coriander makes it a meal (for the guys) while a bright yet creamy green onion dressing (honestly you would think it had cream in it - it's awesome) keeps every bite as refreshing as the one before.

I used bagged shredded ice burg mixed with a couple handfuls of arugula but I think any kind of lettuce would do.

Alright then. Just wanted to say I'm back and am dying to know everything you're up to. And remember the proportions below are up to you. If you like something a lot, just add more of it.

PS - this dressing would be good on an old shoe. I have half a mind to bottle and sell it.

Zesty Chopped Chicken Salad with Vibrant Verde Dressing
Serves 2 hungry people as a main or 4-6 as a side. And as a side, I'd probably omit the chicken!
* Feel free to sub roasting your own chicken breast for the white meat from a rotisserie chicken - about 3/4 cup.

Vibrant Verde Green Onion Dressing:
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon honey, or more to taste
1/2 jalapeño (deseeded, deveined) chopped
1/2 cup canola oil or olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or half teaspoon jalapeño salt and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, if you don't have a jalapeño)
Good pinch freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin

In a blender or food processor, blend the green onions through the cumin until gorgeous, smooth and bright greenl. Store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before tasting, then make any adjustments as far as salt or pepper. If you feel it needs to be sweeter, stir in a pinch of sugar (honey won't break down once the dressing is cold - sugar's your gal.)

Salad Ingredients:
1 (8 oz) bag of shredded iceberg lettuce
large handful of arugula
3 tablespoons black beans, rinsed and patted dry
2-3 tablespoons pecan pieces, toasted
1/3 cup shredded cheddar (I use 2%) or more to taste
1/4 cup pickled jalepeno slices, mild or hot, to taste
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup cubed apple
3/4 cup homemade croutons (1 ciabatta roll, cut into 1/2 inch cubes seasoned with coriander, salt pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil, baked at 325 for 18 minutes or just until golden brown. Let cool to room temp before serving. Extras can be stored in a plastic bag for 5 days.)
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, patted dry, seasoned with salt, pepper and coriander and a dash of olive oil, baked at 375 for 15-18 minutes (depending on size) torn into chunks
pinch black pepper and tiny pinch of salt
Vibrant Verde Dressing (above), to taste

In a large bowl, toss all ingredients (iceberg through the chicken and salt and pepper.) Add the dressing, a tablespoon at a time until to the consistency/flavor you like. Adjust any salt/pepper and serve.


Jenn said...

YAY!! So glad you are back!! Missed you while you were away :) Sorry to hear life has not been perfect, but a great way to get back in the saddle is definitely making a delicious meal. I love that your husband and Chris have the same type of palates, although I don't think I've ever been able to get Chris excited about salads!! Never tried this one though.... sounds wonderful! Will definitely be trying the dressing if nothing else! You know how I am about sauces and dressings! YUM!

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Welcome back!! That dressing is making me drool. Who knew that green onions make a dressing, muchless one that will make me drool at 8 am :) Sounds delicious! I totally suck at making my own croutons. I tend to be impatient and burn them often. LIke always. Gotta stop doing that cause a good crouton is a good thing. Glad to see you back!!

StephenC said...

Welcome back to the fold. Please get rid of the word game thing.

Goodpunk said...

two things:

1: i'm making this tonight, as the pregnant wife has requested both chicken and greenery. muchos gracias.

2: last night i made a sauce for salmon that i'm convinced would make amazing salad dressing. it tastes like wasabi with a hint of mustard. 3 tbsp powdered mustard, 3 tbsp light brown sugar, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1.5 tbsp water. in moderate doses it's the jam on arugula.

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

Jenn - yay! Good to be back and I've missed you too. Have a lot of reading up to do on your blog.

Andrea - Thank you! I too could (and often do) crave something green onion related at the top of the 'morn.

StephenC - Thank you but what word game are you referring to?

Goodpunk - That sounds amaze balls. I heart salmon and anything wasabi and arugula so I imagine you'll see that on the ole blog soon, with creeds of course. Glad to help out a preggers wife. Hope to meet her one day!

Deborah said...

This salad sounds awesome - especially the dressing. And the croutons!!