This chicken salad turned out to be pretty easy to pull together and it was flavorful with a slight Mexican flare. It was also quite light, and the spice was fairly mild. I used to be pretty wimpy when it came to spicy food, but slowly I've been building up my tolerance and am actually beginning to enjoy a little extra kick.
That being said, if something is too spicy for me then it is hard to enjoy, and if that's the case then really there is no point to making the dish. So if you can't handle much spice I would cut back on the jalepeno and possibly the chile powder. I learned once that when adding spice to a dish one should add it slowly, to ensure that it is not too much for your tastes. I would recommend trying this method as well if you are adverse to any heat.
Once again the greens from the garden have gotten out of hand. I'm not sure if we planted to many or I'm just not paying enough attention to them. Either way, Matt and I enjoyed this chicken salad over a bed of greens with lightly grilled quesadillas full of cheddar cheese and fresh avocado slices on the side. However I see this dish as quite versatile. Once the cooked chicken, vegetables, and dressing is mixed up I can imagine it in a wrap for a quick lunch or dinner, or possibly over a bed of rice with beans on the side.
Grilled Chicken Salad
Adapted from Pure Flavor
2 large chicken breasts (4 cups, cubed)
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes)
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot sauce
2 large ears, yellow corn, kernels removed (about 1 1/2 cups)*
1 large red pepper, diced
4 green onions, finely diced, and slightly roasted
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
1 large handful of salad greens per serving (any mild flavored leafy green lettuce will work nicely)
About an hour prior to cooking, place the two chicken breasts in a small bowl and cover with lemon juice, pepper, and cumin. Press the spices into the chicken, cover with plastic, and refrigerate until ready to use. In the pictures here the chicken was grilled, and then cubed for the salad. If a grill isn't an option, pan fry the chicken in a bit of oil until done and cube.
While the chicken is cooking prepare the dressing and the vegetables. For the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and hot sauce in a large bowl. Set aside.
To prepare the vegetables combine the corn, bell pepper, roasted green onions, and peppers in a small bowl.
Once the chicken is cooked and cubed, add it and the prepared vegetables to the dressing. Stir well to coat and mix. Wash and tear the salad greens into edible sized pieces. Lay out the greens on a plate and cover with the chicken salad mix. Serve.
Corn, bell peppers, green onions, and jalapeno peppers are all available at the farmers markets in Nortnern California right now.
*When I made this I used corn kernels from earlier in the summer which I froze just before leaving on vacation. To prepare them for this salad I put the frozen kernels in a small fry pan until the water was mostly cooked out and they were warmed throughly. Fresh corn is going to taste the best, but if you can't find it in your area right now, frozen is the next best option.
Serves 4 for as a main dish, probably with leftovers.
(photography by: alison clayshulte)