With its crunchy topping and full flavor, this Crispy Pecan-Chicken Dinner Salad is sure to bring compliments. It’s perfect for a warm summer supper, or add the Baked Sweet Potato for a side dish for Sunday dinner. This recipe is a perfect example of taking simple ingredients such as chicken and lettuce, and turning it into a scrumptious entrée.
If you have planted a garden this year, you just need to go out to the backyard and pick some lettuce, a cucumber, a few radishes, and some green onions and start your supper salad with these as the base. The rest of us will shop or go to a local farm stand. However you get your salad items, they are so fresh at this time of year and you can’t beat the taste. I for one am in my glory with all the local fruit and vegetables at my fingertips right now.
Pecan Chicken Dinner Salad
4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast that have been pounded to a fairly even thickness.
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Lemon, zested and juiced (save half juice for dressing)
1 cup coarse dry bread crumbs**
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon of each; dried oregano, dried thyme, paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Whisk egg whites, cornstarch, and half the lemon juice in shallow dish.
Combine bread crumbs, herbs, spices, pecans and zest in a second wide, shallow dish.
** In this recipe the bread crumbs take a front seat in creating a crouton-like crust on the chicken, not just a dry one. For the best flavor make your own crumbs by using Ciabatta bread, which is a rustic, chewy bread. Process bread cubes into crumbs and dry on a baking sheet for 10 minutes in a 200-degree oven. Freeze excess for later use.
Dip both sides of chicken into egg mixture, then pat crumbs on both sides of chicken until thickly coated — don’t be afraid to pile them high. Air-dry on a rack for 20 to 30 minutes.
Sauté chicken in 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat in an oven-proof skillet for about 3 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Carefully turn with a spatula. Transfer chicken to a preheated 450-degree oven to finish roasting chicken for about 8 more minutes.
8 cups mixed greens of your choice such as endive, romaine, radicchio, red lettuce, bibb lettuce, etc.
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
3 radishes, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, halved and sliced
Few green onions, cut in pieces.
4 ounces mild goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all dressing ingredients. Mix all salad ingredients and toss with some of the honey-mustard dressing. Arrange greens on four plates. Top with the chicken that has been cut on a bias and fanned out a little. Sprinkle any toasted crumbs left in the pan on the salads. Serve with extra dressing on the side.
Note: Making the dressing and bread crumbs a couple of days ahead will be a time-saver.
Baked Sweet Potato with Maple Sour Cream
Bake 4 sweet potatoes that have been scrubbed and pierced in a 450-degree oven for 45 minutes (best flavor) or in microwave for 7 to 8 minutes.
For topping, mix 1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt with 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup and 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice.
Patricia Altomare invites feedback. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a self-stamped, self-addressed envelope when writing care of Gloucester Daily Times, 36 Whittemore St., Gloucester, MA 01930.