Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Different Sort of Chicken Salad

The weather has been extremely capricious around these parts.  It's cool some mornings, hot by noon and sweltering (by mid-September standards) at 4 p.m..  It can abruptly reverse the trend the next day.  Unlike my mother, I don't seem to have the right "transitional" attire.  Instead, I find myself donning sweaters in layers that can be peeled off or put on as necessary.  There are a few leaves beginning to change color.  Our serviceberry trees are among them.  The potted herbs:  basil, tarragon, sage and parsley are slowing in growth.  I'll bring the rosemary in soon and try to nurse the sage along until Thanksgiving.  

The one constant on our table is salad in some form.  There's rarely a dinner that isn't accompanied by a salad.  This salad was dinner.  I had a bag of the Fresh Express Sierra Crisp Herb blend and some air-cooled chicken breasts in the refrigerator.  It is a happy combination, quite delicious and fast to prepare.

(From Ina Garten and Me)

6 boneless, skinless air-cooled* chicken breasts
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 eggs (beaten)
1 1/2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
unsalted butter
olive oil
1 package Fresh Express Sierra Crisp Herb Mix
1 lemon
good olive oil

Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of waxed paper and pound them until they are approximately 1/4 inch thick.  I use a rolling pin.

Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish.  Place the beaten eggs in a shallow dish.  On a third dish, mix the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.

Dip the chicken breasts into the flour mixture, then into the beaten eggs and lastly into the breadcrumb mixture.  

Heat a tablespoon each of butter and olive oil and cook 2 to three breasts at a time for 3 minutes on each side or until cooked through.  Repeat with remainder.  Keep the chicken warm in a 200 degree oven until all are finished but no longer than 15 minutes or so.

Prepare the Salad:

Here is where I decided to go with the Italian style of dressing a salad.  Because the Sierra blend is quite delicious with no dressing, I wanted it to stand on it's own.  And, so, quite simply, empty the salad blend into a large bowl.  Add a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) and lightly toss.  Then add approximately one tablespoon of good olive oil and toss just to coat.  Next a few pinches of sea salt and a grating of black pepper (this part is to your taste).  Toss all again.  

Place one chicken breast on a plate and top with the salad.  


*Whole Foods had air-cooled, organic chicken breasts on sale last week.  We found them to be quite tasty.  Our food scientist son was along to encourage the purchase.  Check out the air cooling vs water cooling.  I think we are going to go with air cooled in the future.  They are becoming more and more available in the U.S.