Saturday, July 26, 2014

Butter lettuce salad with chicken, pickled currants, feta and croutons

Who doesn't love a big salad for dinner in the summer?  Big salads are one of may favorite thangs - you feel good about eating them and there are endless combinations of deliciousness.

This one is a keeper of a recipe - it's completely dinner-time satisfying with the grilled chicken and homemade croutons (I mean...homemade croutons make everything pretty amazing) and has a nice, tangy zing with the pickled currants & feta.  And I highly recommend the homemade dressing.  It takes literally minutes to make and takes your salads to a whole, new level (this one goes on ANY salad you give it).

Stay cool out there, people!!

Serves 4

pickled currants:
1/2 c. water
1 T. sugar
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1/2 c. dried currants

1 medium shallot - minced
2 t. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
pinch of kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
1/4 c. olive oil

homemade croutons:
1/2 pound firm bread - ripped into 1-1 1/2 in pieces (about 6 cups)
3 T. olive oil
fleur de sel

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 T. olive oil
2 t. dried herbs de Provence
kosher salt & fresh ground pepper

1 head butter lettuce - torn into bite size pieces
2 handfuls arugula
1/2 c. crumbled sheep’s milk feta
1/2 c. basil leaves, roughly torn

Combine water, sugar, white wine vinegar & dried currants in a small pan.  Bring to a boil.  Turn heat to low and simmer 5 minutes.  Turn off heat and allow currants to cool to room temperature in their liquid.  Drain liquid before serving.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Toss bread with olive oil and place in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Sprinkle lightly with flour de sel.  Bake about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until crisp & browned.  Remove and let cool.

Combine shallot, Dijon, white wine vinegar and salt & pepper in a small bowl.  Wisk to combine. Add olive oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly, until combined.

Preheat grill for 10 minutes on medium-high heat.  Slice chicken breasts in half horizontally to create two thinner pieces (these cook quicker and more evenly and won’t dry out).  Coat the 4 chicken pieces with olive oil.  Season with salt & pepper and herbs de Provence.  

Grill chicken until just cooked through and an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees - about 3 minutes per side (they cook really fast when they are this thin!).  Remove from grill, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.  Dice chicken.

In a large bowl, combine butter lettuce, arugula, pickled currants, croutons, feta, basil and diced chicken.  Toss with dressing and serve.

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