Saturday, April 16, 2011

Grilled Chicken Salad with "Rustic" Guacamole

This is a good, healthy main dish salad.  The grilled onion guacamole and chili lime dressing make it different than the usual grilled chicken salad.  Plus, it's from Rick Bayless, so I know it's good. 

The original recipe called for hearts of romaine, but I use red leaf lettuce because it's my standard salad lettuce and I didn't see the point in buying a special type of lettuce for this salad.  I think it works perfectly fine.  The original title for this salad is "Grilled Chicken Salad with Rustic Guacamole, Romaine and Queso Anejo."  I can't get queso anejo so I used grana padano as a substitute because it's a good grating cheese.

The chili lime salad dressing is absolutely essential for this recipe.  It goes on the chicken, on the lettuce, and in the guacamole.  I made a half recipe and wish I'd made more to keep for later.  I use a grill pan for the onions because I don't want them falling through the grates in my outdoor grill. 

Grilled Chicken Salad with "Rustic" Guacamole
Serves 2
Slightly adapted from Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday

Chili Lime Dressing
1/4 cup vegetable, plus a little more to cook the onions for the salad
2 garlic cloves, peeled 
1 serrano or 1 small jalapeno, stemmed and seeded
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1)  Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and serrano pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft and lightly browned (usually 1 to 2 minutes). Pour oil, garlic and chiles into blender jar or food processor. Add lime juice, cilantro, black pepper, and salt to taste. Process until smooth.

Grilled Chicken and Guacamole
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 small white onion, cut into 1/2 half-inch slices  (or thinner if you don't like chunky onion in your guacamole)
1 avocado
Enough lettuce for 2 main dish sized salads, cut into 1/2 inch strips. 
Grated Mexican queso anejo or other garnishing cheese (I eyeball this but the recipe calls for about 1/4 cup)

1) Pour 1/3 of the chili lime dressing over chicken breasts, spreading it evenly over all sides.

2) Cook the chicken and onions. Heat a grill pan or gas grill to medium to medium-high heat. Lightly brush onion slices with oil; sprinkle with salt. Lay chicken and onion on grill pan or grill. Cook until chicken is just cooked through and onion is well browned (3 to 4 minutes on each side). Chop onion into small pieces and scoop into bowl. Set the chicken aside to cool.

3) Make the guacamole.  Pit and peel avocado, scooping flesh into bowl with onion. Add another 1/3 of chili lime dressing, then mash together with old-fashioned potato masher, large fork or back of spoon. Taste and season with salt.

4) Assemble the salad.  Put the lettuce in a large bowl. Toss with remaining chili lime dressing. Divide between 2 dinner plates or shallow bowls. Scoop a portion of guacamole into center of each plate. Cut each breast into cubes and arrange over guacamole. Sprinkle each plate with cheese.  

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