Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Balsamic Chicken Salad with croutons...

By: Mary Kay

I also have some basic salad tips to share. I feel that most people complain that the salads they make at home are not as good as those they get in restaurants or made by their friends. Salads never taste as good when you make them yourself! But they can! These are a couple of things I do to make my salads tasty: 

Add salt. When you get that big old salad at cheesecake factory I can guarantee you that they have added salt to their greens, and probably a lot. You don’t need to go crazy but a pinch of kosher salt tossed into your greens with do it some good, salt helps everything. 

Make your own croutons, cut up some nice italian or french bread and toss it in a hot pan with a swirl of olive oil and salt and pepper. I can not emphasis enough how much a warm fresh crouton can transform your salad. 

Do not use lettuce from a bag. Yes it is very handy and I admit that I use it on occasion, but if you want a great salad buy fresh lettuce, wash it, spin it dry. 

Make your own dressing! Italian vinaigrette could not be easier, put vinegar and Dijon mustard in a jar, add some salt, stir or shake. Slowly add oil which stirring, stir well (or shake in a lidded container) until well combined, taste for salt and pepper. Done. You should use 3 parts oil for every 1 part of vinegar or other acid. You can mix it up with lemon juice, etc. You can also make your own Blue Cheese Dressing, here is a recipe!

Ingredients:  (2 Servings)
Chicken and Dressing
  • 1 1/2 Cups Balsamic Vinegar, Divided 
  • 1/2 Lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast 
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil 
  • 1 tsp Honey 
  • Salt and Pepper 
To Serve:
  • 2 Cups Salad Greens 
  • Croutons 
  • Halved Cherry Tomatoes 
  • Chopped Mozzarella Cheese 
In a small pot heat 1 Cup of balsamic vinegar over low heat for 10-15 minutes until reduced by half and syrupy. Be careful, it can easily burn
Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat.
Slice chicken into bit size slices and add to olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook 3-5 minutes, stirring until golden brown and cooked through.
Add reduced vinegar, remaining 1/2 C vinegar and honey to chicken, stir well to coat.
Toss with salad greens and desired toppings.