Monday, August 12, 2013

Southwestern Grilled Chicken Salad

A delicious summer salad on a hot summer day, this Southwestern Grilled Chicken Salad with Avocado and Tomato & Black Bean Salsa was made this past long weekend by our friends Cory and Richard. Easily doubled for larger groups, the grilled chicken and dressing can be easily prepared earlier in the day and simply thrown together at the last minute. Finished with an extra drizzle of dressing, a flurry of chopped scallions, fresh cilantro and some wedges of lime, Cory and Richard composed the salad on a large platter along with some homemade Turkish hummus, warm pita bread and chilled bottles of Rosé for a light, healthy and refreshing summer feast. Outstanding!

Southwestern Grilled Chicken Salad with Tomato & Black Bean Salsa
Serves 4

2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp light or dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Kosher salt
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the grill
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves for garnish
2 tsp honey
A few shakes of green Tabasco
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup small cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered or halved
1 large scallion, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
9 cups Bibb or mixed lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1 medium firm-ripe avocado
2 limes, quartered for garnish

Combine the chili powder, brown sugar, coriander, cumin, and 3/4 tsp of salt in a small bowl. Rub some of the spice mix over both sides of the chicken breasts and allow to marinate 1-2 hours.

Prepare an outdoor grill to medium-high, being sure to oil the grill grate to stop the chicken from sticking. Grill the breasts until the edges of the top side are white, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until just done, about 1 to 2 minutes more. Let the chicken rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, 1 tablespoon of the cilantro, honey, 1/2 tsp salt, a few grinds of pepper and a few shakes of green Tabasco. Whisk well to combine.

Combine the black beans, tomatoes, scallions, the remaining 2 tsp cilantro, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Add 2 tbsp of the dressing and toss gently.

Place the lettuce in a large bowl, season with a little salt, and toss with just enough of the dressing to lightly coat, reserve a little to drizzle on the chicken. Arrange the lettuce on a large platter. Slice the chicken breasts into 1/4-inch thick pieces and set aside. Pit and slice the avocado. Arrange the chicken, avocado, and black bean salsa on the lettuce. Drizzle a little of the remaining dressing over the chicken and avocado. Garnish with cilantro, scallions and finish with some wedges of lime round the edge.