In just under a month, I'll be headed to Hawaii for two weeks. Before you get super jealous, I must tell you my trip is for work! In the spirit of full disclosure, I should tell you that I'm a mostly stay-at-home-mom (for now anyway) but I'm also a Reservist, so for two weeks a year and one weekend a month, I go "active" and my unit supports a rather large command in Oahu. So, yes, my trip is for work, but I'm hoping to work in some beach time too. With that in mind, I've been incorporating quite a few salads-as-meals the last few weeks in my hopes to drop a few pounds before my
vacation trip. For work. And hopefully a little bit of fun. And sun. Regardless, this salad is fabulous! My husband heard "fried chicken" and wondered how that fit into my plan to become a skinny mini. But then he took a bite and declared this chicken better than Chick-Fil-A. And that is sayin' something!
1 tablespoon honey dijon mustard (or be like me and combine dijon with honey, to taste)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 cup (give or take) olive oil
vegetable oil (for frying)
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 cup buttermilk
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into large bite-sized pieces
1 head Romaine lettuce
1 large tomato, chopped (large bits)
1/2 small red onion, halved and sliced thin
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Make the vinaigrette. In a bowl, combine the dijon (and honey, if not using honey-dijon), vinegar, and 1 teaspoon salt. Gradually drizzle in the olive oil while whisking until smooth. I'm not convinced I used the entire 1/2 cup olive oil. I tasted along the way until I got the flavor I liked, adjusting the ingredients as I went. Set dressing aside.
Fry the chicken. Preheat the oven to 200, placing a baking sheet with cooling rack fitted inside in the warming oven. In a deep, heavy saucepan or skillet, pour in enough vegetable oil to a depth of 1/2-inch. Pour buttermilk into a shallow bowl. In a second shallow bowl (or zip-lock bag) combine flour, garlic powder, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and pepper. When the frying oil reaches 360 degrees, dip the chicken bits in the buttermilk. Remove and allow excess to drip back into dish. Toss the chicken in the flour mixture, allowing a good coating to adhere to all sides. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, place breaded chicken bits into hot oil (I did two batches, so as to not crowd the skillet) and fry, turning occasionally, until golden and opaque throughout, 2-4 minutes total. Using the tongs or slotted spoon, remove chicken to warming rack in oven. Repeat until all chicken is cooked.
Assemble the salads. On two dinner plates, arrange a bed of romaine. Top with the tomato and onions. Sprinkle on the pecans and cheese. Arrange the chicken bits and drizzle with dressing.
Makes 2 dinner-sized salads.
Recipe adapted from Food Made Fast: Salad from Williams-Sonoma.