Okay, let’s be realistic: I wouldn’t serve just salad without a nice, rustic loaf of bread, drinks and of course, a fantastic dessert!
This chicken salad is definitely a meal unto itself. And just like my Winter Persimmon Salad, I would call this salad a “comfort food.” That’s right: a comfort food salad! It’s as comforting as lasagna or a super hearty, spicy soup with noodles!
If you’re thinking at all about a casual holiday lunch or dinner – or you simply want a cozy food gathering with friends, this salad is amazingly yummy! And satisfying! And beautiful! (Did you already make the spiced pecans? And are they well hidden?)
You can start a bit of prep on Friday night, and then on Saturday you can throw the rest together. I love it!
For the salad:
3/4-pound Pee Wee Dutch yellow potatoes (or another tiny potato), washed, dried and cut in half
6 chicken tenders
Olive oil for the pan
About 1/2 head red leaf lettuce, washed and dried
1-1/2 cups red grapes, sliced in half, vertically
1/3 cup finely chopped scallions
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
1 recipe (1 cup) Sweet Spiced Caramelized Pecans
For the dressing:
These dressing measurements might make more than you’ll need — use the desired amount once it’s made.
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Coat a medium-sized sauté pan with olive oil and place it over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and season them generously with salt and pepper. Cook until they are nicely browned and tender, about 12 minutes. (Stir them periodically.) When they’re done, remove them from the pan and set them aside to cool to room temperature.
In the same pan, add a bit more olive oil and turn the heat to medium. Season the chicken tenders with salt and pepper. Place them in the pan once it’s hot. You should hear a sizzling sound — if you don’t, wait until the pan is hotter! Cook until the chicken is cooked through, a couple minutes on each side. Cool the chicken completely, and then use your hands to shred it into bite-sized pieces.
In a large mixing or serving bowl, combine the lettuce with the potatoes, chicken, grapes, scallions, pecans, and both cheeses. Set aside.
To make the dressing: Whisk the lemon juice with the mustard, garlic, honey, salt, and pepper to taste. Then very gradually whisk in the extra virgin olive oil. If necessary, add a bit more salt and pepper to taste.
Add the desired amount of dressing to the salad and toss!
Up to 1 week and at least 40 minutes ahead: Make the dressing.
Up to 1 day before and at least 40 minutes ahead: Sauté the potatoes and chicken and prep the remaining salad ingredients.
If you do any of the ingredient prep the day before, be sure to wrap each one tightly, separately, and keep them refrigerated.
This salad would also be lovely with the Creamy Cranberry-Ginger Balsamic Vinaigrette!
My favorite way to make salad dressings is in a jar with a fitted lid. Simply add the ingredients, put the lid on tightly, and shake!