Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pistachio Apricot Grilled Chicken Salad

Main course salads are an absolute staple of summer dining for me. They showcase the wonderful plethora of produce available at the farmer's market, don't take much effort to put together, and don't require turning on the oven. Salads often get a bad wrap and people often assume that they're just a boring collection of veggies with dressing, when they are in fact one of the best palates for combining flavors. In this salad I combined fresh and crunchy greens and peas with sweet and chewy dried apricots, salty and savory Parmesan cheese and pistachios, and grilled chicken for a healthy and immensely flavorful salad. If you're a vegetarian, eliminate the chicken and increase the amount of the other toppings or use tofu, seitan, or even chickpeas, cannellini beans, or grilled mushrooms instead. Grilled chicken contributes more to the texture than the flavor of the dish so vegetarians will still get to experience the full flavor range of this delicious salad. Hopefully this recipe will not only encourage you give this particular salad a try, but to go forth and create your own unique recipes, using the best produce that summer has to offer.

Pistachio Apricot Grilled Chicken Salad
serves 2

8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces mixed salad greens
4 ounces baby spinach
4 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed and strings removed
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup roasted salted pistachios
1 oz. shaved Parmesan cheese
Salad dressing, for serving (I like Newman's Own Orange Ginger Dressing)

1. Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Cook chicken breast until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F, remove from heat, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice evenly into thin slices.

2. Meanwhile, wash and dry greens and spinach and chop, if necessary. Divide greens and spinach between two large plates, topping each with half of the peas, apricots, and pistachios. Add the sliced chicken and sprinkle shaved Parmesan over the top. Drizzle with salad dressing and enjoy!

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