California Chop Salad with Grilled Chicken
What makes this riff on a Salade Nicoise Californian? A beautiful portion of avocado and the best chicken raised here at Belcampo Farms California as well! In this version of a chopped salad, I make a few of the components in advance, including the vinaigrette, hard-boiled eggs, and green beans, so they can be used all week for quick salads or snacks. Once a week, I’ll make a double batch of vinaigrette and hard-boil enough eggs to have for snacks or to add to salads. I also blanch a pound of green beans in advance. (Translation: I cook them in salted boiling water for 3 minutes before dropping them in ice water to stop the cooking. Then I drain them and dry them with a paper towel before refrigerating for up to a week.) Then when hunger strikes, all you need to do is cook off the chicken, add a few other ready-to-go ingredients, and voila! The perfect chopped salad is yours.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp chopped rosemary
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 3 Tbsp minced shallots
- 3 Tbsp red wine or sherry vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 heads of romaine lettuce, washed, dried and finely chopped
- 1 pt. cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup pitted black olives
- 1/2 lb. blanched green beans
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, halved
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
For the Marinade
- To make the marinade, combine ¼ cup of olive oil with the rosemary, garlic, a teaspoon of kosher salt, and a few fresh grindings of pepper. Place the chicken in the marinade and refrigerate for 2-6 hours.
For the Vinaigrette
- To make the vinaigrette, place the shallots in a small bowl and add the vinegar and a pinch of kosher salt. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to soften the shallots. Whisk in a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, then slowly whisk in ¼ cup of olive oil into the mixture to create an emulsified vinaigrette. Taste, adding more salt and a fresh grinding of pepper if desired.
For the Chicken
- To cook the chicken on the stove top, place a large frying pan over medium-high heat and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. When the pan is hot, add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan, then add the chicken pieces. Cook until the chicken is browned on one side and releases easily from the pan, about 4-6 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side until browned as well, an additional 4-6 minutes. Check the internal temperature of the chicken. If it has not reached 160-165 degrees F, place the chicken in the oven to finish cooking, about 8-10 minutes longer. Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
To Assemble the Salad
- To assemble the salad, place the chopped romaine on a platter. Drizzle a tablespoon of the vinaigrette over the romaine so it is lightly dressed. Group the other ingredients around the platter, placing the sliced chicken in the middle. Drizzle a few more tablespoons of vinaigrette over all of the ingredients. Finish with a few turns of freshly ground pepper and serve immediately.
Recipes by Amanda Haas (exclusively for Belcampo Meat Co.)
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