Saturday, January 31, 2009

{Baby Romaine Salad with Spicy Chicken & Warm Chipotle Vinaigrette}

image via {finecooking}
H.E.C.T.I.C. That pretty much sums up this entire last week. I had two huge exams and one additional exam this Friday. Since last Friday, all I did was study all day. I think I only made one real meal this entire week (my poor husband). Since the majority of my stress is now diminished, I set out to make some real, healthy food this weekend. I felt like I needed some kind of salad so I moseyed on over to and found this excellent recipe Baby Romaine Salad with Spicy Chicken & Warm Chipotle Vinaigrette. I adapted the recipe quite a bit to fit the ingredients we had on hand and our preferences, but it was really delicious. The dressing is what totally makes this salad, so you could definately play around with the rest of the salad like we did. You could even substitute regular sugar or some other kind of vinegar if you didn't have the balsamic. Salad dressings are pretty flexible and can be adjusted to your preferences. I substituted a leafy green mix from Costco that we needed to use up for the romaine and iceburg. I think the romaine would have added a really great crunch, but, like I said, I wanted to use what we had on hand. I omitted corn and onion, as we didn't have any of that in the fridge and I kept the avocado and added some little tomatoes. I think that grilled chicken would be equally as great on this salad as well. I also made some baked sweet potato fries on the side as well. Overall, very filling, healthy, and light as well. Thanks finecooking!

I posted our adaptation of the recipe below which is now based on two people. We did end up making the full dressing recipe, however, to use later this next week. For the original recipe click the link above.

Baby Romaine Salad with Spicy Chicken & Warm Chipotle Vinaigrette

4 cups mixed leafy greens
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 chipotle chile (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce), chopped, plus 2 Tbs. adobo sauce
3 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. light brown sugar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. fine cornmeal (preferably white)
1/2 Tbs. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick strips
a handful of grape tomatoes
1/2 ripe avocado, cut into 3/4-inch dice
1 lime, cut into quarters

Toss the leafy greens and cilantro into a large bowl. Purée the chipotle chile and adobo sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar, and mustard. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of the oil.

In a shallow dish, mix the flour, cornmeal, chili powder, and cumin. Season the chicken with 1 tsp. salt and then dredge in the flour mixture.

Heat 1 Tb. of the remaining oil in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it’s shimmering, about 1 minute. Add the chicken strips, evenly spaced, and cook without touching for 2 min. Flip and cook until the strips are just cooked through and firm to the touch, 1 to 2 min. Transfer to a large plate lined with ­paper towels.

Discard the fat from the pan and wipe it clean with paper ­towels. Set the pan over low heat, add the vinaigrette, and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula, until warmed through, about 1 min. Return the vinaigrette to a liquid measuring cup and whisk to recombine.

Gently toss the greens with about some of the vinaigrette or enough to lightly coat. Portion among two plates and top with the chicken, avocado, and the tomatoes. and Serve with lime wedges on the side for squeezing over the salads.

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