Sweet and Crunchy Chicken Salad

Sweet and Crunchy Chicken Salad

We’ve reached a point in the summer when trying to come up with dinner is my most detested chore. I don’t want to do anything that would bring heat in my general direction. Salads are a great solution to this, but judging by what you see on restaurant menus, it seems like there are only four or five salads ever made. Let’s see, you’ve got your Chinese Chicken Salad, a Caesar, a Cobb, something based around BBQ, and maybe a taco salad. And if it’s a place that specializes in salads, you can find something with fruit and a stinky cheese. I love every one of those things, but variation is nice.

This one came from my favorite restaurant ever: Rutabegorz. It’s a place that specializes in fresh ingredients, particularly fruits and vegetables, and so there are very few people who will eat there with me because they think it’s a place for vegetarians. Oh the bounty they are missing out on.

Sweet and Crunchy Chicken Salad

2 chicken breasts
1/2 C olive oil
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 C walnuts, diced
2 T butter
2 T honey
1/2 tsp sugar
1 head lettuce or 3 C mixed greens, washed and torn
1 tomato, diced
1 cucumber, sliced
3 carrots, shredded
1 avocado, diced
1 C feta cheese, crumbled
1 C crispy chow mein noodles

For the dressing:
1/2 C olive oil
Juice from 1 lemon
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard

Marinate the chicken breasts in the olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper. Grill, then chop into bite sized pieces.

In a nonstick skillet, melt the butter and honey together. Add the nuts and toss until well coated and the liquid is nearly evaporated. Sprinkle the sugar on top. Spread the nuts onto a tinfoil covered cookie sheet, and bake at 350 for ten minutes. Allow to cool and then brake apart into small pieces.

Combine the chicken and walnuts with the remaining ingredients and toss.

In a blender, combine the lemon juice, vinegar, and mustard. While blending, slowly add the oil to allow it to emulsify.

I like to make up big batches of sugared nuts and keep them in airtight containers. If I do that, and make Bear man the grill, I can make up this salad with not a bit of heat getting into my kitchen. Wonderful.