Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Grilled Chicken Summer Salad

Yes its true, no salad as a meal. At least that is the name of one of my favorite blog's and Jeffrey Steingarten devotes a whole chapter in The Man Who Ate Everything about the hazards of salad. But I think this salad can truly be considered a delicious meal, bursting with summer flavors. A quickly made radish and cucumber pickles elevates this salad from the mundane starter to a fully satisfying meal. It is fun festive and not at all mine. I have Gourmet magazine to thank for this delicious salad. Yes, it is a lot of work, but if you have left over chicken and pesto (we keep some homemade in the freezer) you can whip this up in no time. Don’t want to make pesto. I say just make a basil vinaigrette, and it will still have that herb-y punch.





5 Tbsp red-wine vinegar

1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1 small garlic cloves, minced

¾ tsp sugar

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup chopped chives


4 cups water

1/3 cup kosher salt

2 Tbsp sugar

4 garlic cloves, smashed

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 bunch radishes

4 Persian cucumbers or 1 seedless cucumber

½ cup packed flat-lead parsley leaves


1 (15- to 19-oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

¼ cup finely chopped red onion

1 Tbsp chopped mint


1 lb haricots verts or other green beans

½ cup whole almonds with skin, toasted and coarsely chopped


¾ lb fresh cremini mushrooms, halved

¾ lb fresh shitake mushrooms, stem reserved for another use and caps halved

2 lb skinless boneless chicken thighs

1/3 cup basil pesto


2 medium tomatoes, cut into ½-inch thick wedges

¼ cup thinly sliced basil


4 cups thinly sliced romaine, Bibb, and/or Boston lettuce

EQUIPMENT: a perforated grill sheet

MAKE VINAIGRETTE: Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients, except oil and chives, with ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified. Whisk in chives.

MAKE RADISH-CUCUMBER SALAD: Boil water with salt, sugar, garlic, and peppercorns in a 4-qt pot, uncovered, 10 minutes. While brine boils, trim and halves radishes. Halve cucumbers lengthwise and cut crosswise into ½-inch thick slices. Remove brine from heat. Add radishes and cucumbers and let stand, uncovered, 10 minutes. Drain in a colander, discarding garlic and peppercorns. Transfer radishes and cucumbers to an ice bath to stop cooking, then drain well in colander. Transfer to a large bowl and chill, uncovered, about 20 minutes.

MAKE CHICKPEA SALAD: Stir together chickpeas, onion, ¼ cup vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste.

COOK GREEN BEANS: Cook green beans in a large pot of well-salted boiling water, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 3 to 6 minutes. Drain. Transfer to a large ice bath to stop cooking. Drain again and pat dry.

GRILL MUSHROOMS AND CHICKEN: Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over hot charcoal (medium-high heat for gas). Toss mushrooms with 2 Tbsp vinaigrette and marinate 10 minutes. Grill mushrooms in 2 batches on oiled grill sheet, covered only if using a gas grill, stirring frequently, until golden-brown, about 5 minutes per batch. Toss hot mushrooms with 2 Tbsp vinaigrette. Season chicken with ½ tsp each of salt and pepper. Oil grill rack, then grill chicken over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas), covered only if using a gas grill, turning chicken occasionally and moving it as necessary to avoid flare-ups, until just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. Cut into ½-inch thick slices and toss with pesto in a large bowl.

DRESS SALADS AND ASSEMBLE DISH: Toss brined cucumbers and radishes with parsley, 3 Tbsp vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir mint into chickpea salad. Toss beans with 2 Tbsp vinaigrette and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with almonds. Toss tomatoes with 3 Tbsp vinaigrette, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss lettuce with 1 Tbsp vinaigrette. Arrange chicken, mushrooms, and salads side by side on a large platter and serve remaining vinaigrette on the side.

COOKS NOTES: Vinaigrette, without chives, can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Add chives just before serving. Radish-cucumber salad, without parsley, can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Add parsley just before serving. Chickpea salad, without mint, can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Ass mint just before serving. Haricots verts can be cooked 1 day ahead and chilled in a sealable bad lined with paper towels. Mushrooms and chicken can be cooked in batches in an oiled hot 2-burner grill pan over medium-high heat.

JUST FOR FUN: Check out Little Girl in the Kitchen Videos. Watch one of my favorite 11 year old's cook like she is the next Giada. I have been cooking with her for some time and she truly has exquisite taste. Plus, all recipes in her videos are hers truly.


Elra said...

Hey.... glad to have you back.

Delicious salad and absolutely perfect for summer.

Sophie said...

What a lovely, wholesome & sunny summer salad!!
I would like to digg in, right now!!!


hms said...

So glad to see you writing again! That 11 year old is amazing. She's a little mini-you!

filta fry said...

i crave for yummy salad such as that!

i love fresh herbs mixed on yummy stuff.


it looks so beautiful and very delicious..

i would love to have a go on that..
Dig in!!!!