Revving up for summer, when salads are the best way to eat – no heat (or very little) generated in the house, lots of fresh vegetables and fruit available, and usually light and healthy when you are feeling hot and bogged down.
I found this recipe earlier this week, and I’m going to make it later today. I got lucky, because the watermelon I bought is delicious. It’s great with cottage cheese, which I had for breakfast yesterday.
3 cups cubed watermelon
2 large ripe tomatoes
1 medium cucumber
⅓ cup pitted kalamata olives
⅓ cup crumbled feta
Some chopped parsley and mint
Olive oil and red-wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
In a large bowl combine 3 cups cubed watermelon; 2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped; 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped; 1 small red onion, sliced; 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives; 1/3 cup crumbled feta; and some chopped parsley and mint. Drizzle with olive oil and red-wine vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss and serve.
This is a new recipe too, and while you could roast your own chicken, my choice here is a rotisserie chicken. I’m including the entire recipe, if you prefer to roast the chicken yourself. This salad makes a large quantity. If you are like me, you will cut the quantities down to better fit your needs.
FRED’S CHICKEN SALAD WITH BALSAMIC DRESSING
FOR THE CHICKEN:
1 4-pound chicken (or a store-bought rotisserie chicken, in which case skip to the dressing below)
1 ½ tablespoons salt
½ bunch fresh thyme
1 lemon, quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
FOR THE DRESSING:
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
FOR THE SALAD:
1 cup fresh pears diced in 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 large handfuls mixed greens, such as a boxed mix with fresh herbs
1 cup string beans cut in 1-inch pieces, blanched (from about 1/4 pound beans; see note)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup minced onion
2 ripe avocados, cut into 1-inch cubes
Roast the chicken (if you’re using a cooked, store-bought chicken, skip this step): Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place a rack in a roasting pan. Rub 1 tablespoon salt around the inside of the cavity, then stuff it with the thyme, lemon and garlic. Tie the legs closed with cooking twine. Rub olive oil over the entire bird, and sprinkle with 1/2 tablespoon salt and the black pepper. Place on the rack and roast for 72 to 80 minutes. After 72 minutes, begin testing for doneness by inserting a meat thermometer into the leg, close to the bone. The chicken is done when the thermometer reads 165 degrees. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
When cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the chicken. Use your hands to remove all the meat (remember, it will be hotter internally) and shred into 2-inch strips. If you’re not going to make the salad for a few hours, place the meat in the refrigerator, but be sure to remove it and let come to room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes before serving, to bring out the best flavor.
Make the dressing: Place all the ingredients except the oil in a food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds, until everything is combined. With the machine on low, slowly drizzle in the oil until dressing is emulsified.
Assemble the salad: Drizzle pears with lemon juice to prevent them from browning. In a large mixing bowl, combine pears, greens, beans, tomatoes, onion, avocado and half the chicken meat. Add some of the dressing and toss to make sure everything is lightly coated, adding more dressing if needed. Divide the mixture equally among 4 or 6 plates. Lay the rest of the chicken on top and serve immediately, passing the remaining dressing in case people want to add more.
To blanch the string beans, bring a small saucepan filled with about 2 inches of water to a simmer. Add the cut beans and cook 1 to 2 minutes (less for crunchier beans), until bright green and just beginning to soften. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beans to a plate to cool.
I tried this salad a week or so ago. It’s really good! I cut the quantities in half. I did not have a Habanero chili, so I added hot sauce instead. The photo is the actual salad that I made in my kitchen. I’m sure you could make it prettier! (and take a better photo)
2 Cups lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 Scallions, roughly chopped
2 Medium garlic cloves, peeled
1 Habanero chili, stemmed and seeded
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 tsp grated lime zest, plus 1/4 cup lime juice
3/4 cup peanut oil (roasted peanut oil, if you have it)
2 large ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
2 ripe avocados
1 Cup grape tomatoes, chopped
In a food processor, combine the parsley, scallions, garlic, chili, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Process until finely chopped, about 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the lime zest and juice and the peanut oil, and process until smooth, about 30 seconds.
In a medium bowl, combine the mango slices with 3 tablespoons of the parsley dressing, and gently toss. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Lay the mango slices on a service platter; do not wash the bowl. Halve, pit, peel and thinly slice the avocados Arrange the avocados on top of the mangoes. Sprinkle lightly with salt and drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the remaining dressing. In the same bowl used for the mangoes, toss together the tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of the remaining dressing. Scatter the mixture over the mangoes and avocados. Serve remaining dressing on the side.
FOR THE DRESSING:
2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
1-½ teaspoon Lemon Juice
1-½ teaspoon Onion Juice
1-½ teaspoon Sugar
1-½ teaspoon Dijon Mustard
¼ teaspoons Dry Mustard
1 cup Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Chopped Parsley
1 whole Hard-boiled Egg, Peeled And Diced
¼ teaspoons Salt, Or To Taste
FOR THE SALAD:
14 ounces, weight Deli Ham, Cut Into Small Strips (1/4″ X 2″)
14 ounces, weight Deli Turkey Breast Cut Into Small Strips (1/4″ X W 2″)
14 ounces, weight Deli Swiss Cheese, Cut Into Small Strips (1/4″ X 2″)
½ cups Sweet Gherkin Pickles Cut Into Small Slivers
1 head Iceberg Lettuce, Shredded
16 pieces Pimento Stuffed Olives
Prepare the dressing: In a medium-sized bowl combine vinegar, lemon juice, onion juice, sugar and mustards. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add mayonnaise, parsley, egg and salt to taste. Mix well.
Prepare the salad: Combine ham, turkey, Swiss cheese and pickles in a large bowl. Toss together with dressing.
Divide lettuce among plates. Top with salad, and garnish each plate with two olives.