Monday, August 1, 2011

Bachelor's Blackened Chicken Salad

Those who know me, know that virtually all my cooking is from scratch, especially sauces and dressings. Not this one. This dinner is super fast, and super simple. I use the mildly sexist term "Bachelor" as a metaphor anyone who has limited time for or interest in cooking and who's cooking skills pretty much end at the grill

This is a perfect summer dinner with a lot of flavor, and not too many calories. Prep time should be less than 30 minutes

Feeds two.


1 t. paprika (use a bit more if sweet, less if hot)
2+ t. salt
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1 t. black pepper
1/2 t. dried thyme
1 t. dried oregano
1 split (i.e. both halves!) boneless, skinless Chicken breast.

1 summer tomato, wedged or 2 "Campari" tomatoes out of season.
1 head romaine (fresh from the garden is great, but hearts from the store are fine).
4T. Best quality jarred blue cheese dressing (or to taste).
1t. red wine vinegar

Start the fire. It should be hot and on one side of grill (a.k.a. "indirect grilling method"). Mix the spices together with a fork on a large plate. Lightly salt the then coat the chicken breast with the blackening rub. Be generous. Tip: If the chicken breasts are quite large, or if you have very little time, cover with plastic wrap on a cutting board and pound down to a uniform 3/4" thickness.

Quick version: Grill the chicken until done.

Long version: Grill the chicken over direct fire for 3-4 minutes on one side, then turn and grill another 3-4 minutes. The breasts should be just barely charred. If they are firm to the touch, move off the fire or even off the grill to a warm plate. If the chicken is still resilient to the touch, turn and move just off the fire, and grill indirectly for another 3 minutes. If firm, move to a warm plate to rest. If not, turn and repeat until done. A pounded, thin breast will grill much more quickly. A very cold, large breast is going to take more time. Don't rush it.

While the chicken is resting, arrange your lettuce and tomatoes on the plates. Drizzle with the vinegar and the blue cheese dressing. Slice the chicken breasts across the grain and plate atop the lettuce. Serve.

Serve with a pinot noir or any red that can handle spice. I suspect that a vino verde will work well for white wine fans.

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