Friday, May 14, 2010

Chicken Bacon Salad

Tonight's supper was Chicken Bacon Salad. There's not much I like better than a combination of sweet, salty, crunchy, hot and cold all in the same bite - this salad delivers just that, and was very satisfying.

This recipe yielded two pretty big salads. I couldn't finish all of mine, and even Mark was full when we were done (which is always an achievement).

Salad Ingredients:

3 boneless chicken breasts (you could also use an equivalent amount of thighs, tenders, anything boneless)
6 slices bacon
1 large head romaine lettuce - torn up
1/2 an apple - I used Granny Smith - chopped
1/2 cup red onion - cut into rings

Preheat a large pan (I use a cast iron one) on medium. Chop bacon into 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch bits, put into pan and cook down, shaking or stirring occassionally to prevent burning. While bacon is cooking, slice chicken into about 2" pieces, set aside.

When bacon is crisp and fat is rendered out, remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Carefully place chicken into pan with hot bacon fat. Cook until golden brown (about 5 minutes), then flip chicken pieces to cook on the other side (a couple more minutes). While chicken finishes cooking, assemble your vinaigrette:

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard (or to taste)
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper

Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients in the bottom of a large bowl till combined. If you really hate mustard, you don't have to put it in, but you'll need to add your oil a little at a time to the other ingredients as you whisk to keep the dressing emulsified. Mustard is a natural emulsifier.

Once dressing is combined, add romaine lettuce and toss gently to coat with dressing. Transfer to serving plates.

Remove chicken from pan and allow to drain on paper bag or paper towel while you assemble the rest of the salad. Add the chopped apple, rings of red onions, and crispy bits of bacon to the dressed salads, then add the chicken pieces to the top and serve.

You could garnish with some chopped pecans or walnuts, and I think this would be nice with chopped avocado, as well. I actually bought an avocado intending to have it on the salad, but I wasn't paying enough attention when I picked it out and it was rock hard (and useless) when I tried to cut into it.