Monday, March 30, 2015

Herbed, Roasted Chicken Salad Fresh Raspberries, Crumbled Gorgonzola, Praline Pecans, Chopped Fuji Apple, Shaved Red Onion, Spring Lettuce Mix, + Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing

Springtime is quickly approaching the South, y'all. This can only mean that I can enjoy the weather outside on our porch for hours on end, go to the local farmer's market, and make yummy meals that are so fresh that they don't weigh you down. It's truly a gorgeous sight to see when all of Buckhead's flowers begin to bloom and I can actually enjoy it with the top down of my convertible. So when we went to the grocery store yesterday, we were craving something light and refreshing, and ultimately a salad is what we decided on. It begins with herbed, roasted chicken that is unbelievably moist. The rest of the recipe is easy-peasy. You just add all of the ingredients into a large salad bowl and toss it together. I love the balance of flavor that you get when adding fruit and cheese... one is slightly acidic + sweet while the other is creamy + salty. Raspberries and Gorgonzola just seems to be a match made in heaven, quite honestly. And hey, all cheese pairs beautifully with apples as well. But the other ingredients play their part as well, the thinly shaved red onion gives the dish a pop, the praline pecans give it some crunch, and the spring lettuce mix just soaks all of that goodness up. I love to pair creamy poppy seed dressing with any kind of fruit salad, so I made a classic recipe that is boosted up with some garlic, lemon zest, and white balsamic reduction. Really all you have to do is toss the salad together and enjoy :)

For the Herbed, Roasted Chicken:
2 Skin-On, Bone-In Chicken Breasts
2T Dried Herbs (we used a mixture of basil, thyme, oregano, & cilantro)
2T Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper, To Taste
2-3T White Balsamic Reduction
¼C Fresh Herbs (we used a mixture of basil, thyme, parsley, & oregano
¼t Dried Red Pepper Flakes

For the Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing:
¾C Mayo
¼C Buttermilk or Heavy Cream (you can add a little more or a little less if you want it thicker)
3T White Balsamic Reduction
6T Sugar
8t Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Lemon, Zested
1 Garlic Clove, Finely Grated using a Microplane
4t Poppy Seeds
Kosher Salt + Fresh Cracked Pepper, To Taste

For the Salad:
Prepared Herbed Roasted Chicken, Pulled into Pieces
6oz Spring Lettuce Mix
8oz Fresh Raspberries
1C Praline Pecans (roughly chopped)
½C Crumbled Gorgonzola
½ of a Red Onion, Thinly Shaved or Sliced
1 Fuji Apple, Diced
Prepared Poppy Seed Dressing

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with Pam.
2. For the Herbed, Roasted Chicken: Start off by washing and drying the chicken breasts and then toss them in the mixed dried herbs, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast the chicken breasts in the prepared pan in the oven at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. Once they have cooled, discard the skin, remove the meat from the bones, and pull the chicken into bite size pieces by hand. Place the pulled chicken into a small mixing bowl and toss it with the white balsamic reduction, fresh herbs, and dried red pepper flakes. Season it to taste with more salt and pepper if needed. Set the chicken aside while you assemble the salad.
3. For the Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing: Put the mayo into a mixing bowl and whisk until it is smooth with no lumps remaining. Slowly drizzle in the milk, whisking to combine; until you have reached you desired thickness. Finely grate a lemon for its’ zest and a large clove of garlic using a Microplane, and add it into the mayo mixture. Stir in the remaining ingredients and season to your liking. Set aside while you make the salad.
4. For the Salad: In a large salad bowl, add in the spring mix, fresh raspberries, chopped praline pecans, crumbled Gorgonzola, shaved red onion, diced Fuji apple, and herbed roasted chicken. Toss those ingredients together until they are evenly distributed throughout the spring lettuce mix. Lastly you can either add the dressing, and then coat the entire salad with the dressing or you can serve the salads individually and drizzle the dressing over the top of each portion. 

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