Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu Salad

Although they don't rank quite as highly on my list of favorite sandwiches as a reuben or cubano, I'm always happy to dig into a chicken cordon bleu sandwich. With a combination of moist chicken, smoky ham, and rich Swiss cheese under a blanket of honey mustard, what's not to love? And as it turns out, this fantastic combination coexists just as happily on top of salad greens as it does on bread. With some bread crumbs (or croutons) for a bit of crunch, you won't miss the bun and you can feel a little bit better about indulging in a big pile of meat, cheese, and caramelized onions.While grilled chicken is the easiest and healthiest option, I doubt anyone would turn down this salad prepared with breaded and fried chicken. That being said, this is a salad for the meat enthusiast, not the health nut, and a good way to sneak a little nutrition into the diets of your favorite carnivores.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Salad
serves 2

8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 tablespoon butter or canola oil
1 small white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
8 ounces mixed salad greens
4 ounces sliced ham steak, cubed
4 ounces shredded or cubed Swiss or cheddar cheese
1/4 cup whole wheat panko (or 1/2 cup whole grain croutons)
Salad dressing, for serving (I suggest honey mustard 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. Shred or slice into small pieces.

2. While the chicken is cooking, preheat a pan over medium heat and add the butter or oil. Once the butter is melted and foaming has subsided or oil begins to shimmer, add the thinly sliced onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until the onions get just a bit of color. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until onions are soft and browned, but not falling apart, about 10 to 15 minutes total.

3. Meanwhile, wash and dry greens and chop, if necessary. Distribute greens evenly between two large plates, topping each with half of the onions, ham, and Swiss cheese. Add the sliced chicken to the top, sprinkle with bread crumbs, drizzle with dressing, and enjoy!

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