Finally we have a sunny day.
I was out working in the garden and I could almost see the plants stretching and straining towards the sun.
A salad seemed to be in order for this post – as well as a repeat of the salad dressing primer I posted a few years ago.
Summer is upon us – time to eat healthier, fresher and lighter.
Grilling the chicken breast and vegetables adds the perfect summer flavors to this salad – and keeps it light.
Chicken Salad with Potatoes and Asparagus
Total time: 30 minutes
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or leftover chicken
- 2 medium potatoes
- 8oz (250gr) asparagus
- 3oz (90gr) cherry tomatoes
- 12 small Mozzarella balls
- 1/3 cup sliced radishes
- 1/3 cup green olives
- spinach and/or other spring greens for 2 large salads
- 1 tbs snipped basil
- 1 tbs snipped chives
- 1 tbs snipped parsley
- 1 tbs olive oil for potatoes
- Marinade for chicken:
- 1 tbs red wine vinegar
- 1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tbs ketchup
- 1 tbs sherry vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 3 tbs good olive oil
- In small bowl whisk together marinade for chicken, pour over chicken and set aside to marinate.
- When ready, remove chicken from marinade and cook on barbecue for 14 – 18 minutes, turning once.
- OR sauté for about the same amount of time – or until done.
- Cut potatoes into large bite-size pieces.
- Trim and cut asparagus into 2″ (5cm) lengths.
- Toss potatoes with oil and cook on barbecue grill in grill pan, stirring frequently, for about 25 minutes or until brown and done.
- Add asparagus for the last 10 minutes of cooking time, stirring to combine with potatoes and oil in pan.
- OR sauté in large skillet until browned and cooked through, about 20 minutes, adding the asparagus for the last 7 minutes.
- Make vinaigrette: In small bowl whisk mustard, ketchup and vinegar.
- Slowly add oil whisking constantly. You may have to stop adding oil and just whisk periodically – you don’t want to see the oil separately – it should be incorporated as it goes into the mixture.
- Prepare spinach and lettuce, tear if needed and put in a large salad bowl.
- Cut tomatoes, olives in half and add to salad.
- Slice radishes, snip herbs and add to salad.
- Add mozzarella to salad.
- Add 2 – 3 tbs vinaigrette and mix well.
- Remove vegetables and chicken.
- Slice chicken.
The Spanish way of dressing a salad is to drizzle a bit of oil and vinegar over the top of your own salad just before eating. The salads are brought to the table naked.
The French way of dressing a salad is to put a dab of Dijon mustard in the bottom of a salad bowl; add a dash of vinegar, a bit of salt and whisk in some olive oil. Put the lettuce on top and toss just before serving.
The American way of dressing a salad is to….
We won’t go there.
The British way is the American way.
We won’t go there, either.
The display of salad dressings in a typical American supermarket is mind-boggling. Not only is there every conceivable type and variation of salad dressings and vinaigrettes known to woman, but each and every one comes in Regular, Light, and Non-Fat or ‘Free’.
‘Free’ of what?’ is always my question.
It’s certainly not Free of unpronounceable ingredients.
Have you ever looked at the ingredient list on a bottle of commercial
Here is, to me, the real conundrum:
A serving of 2 tbs of a brand-name non-fat Ranch dressing has about the same amount of calories as a serving of 2 tbs of my Creamy Mustard Yogurt Dressing (recipe below).
BUT (it’s a big but) mine has all natural ingredients, heart-healthy fat from olive oil, calcium from yogurt AND you’ll use less because it isn’t such a thick glop and it packs a bigger flavor punch.
It takes about a minute to make and keeps for a week in the fridge.
Here are five of my favorite ways to dress a salad – I’m just giving the recipe ingredients; the method is always the same:
Put all wet ingredients (mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, yogurt, etc) except oil in a small bowl. Whisk well to combine. Slowly drizzle in the olive or other oil, whisking constantly, until it emulsifies or thickens.
If it’s a yogurt based dressing this will come together quickly. If it’s not, you may have to stop adding the oil and just whisk for a few seconds from time to time…. you’re adding the oil too fast.
When the dressing is thick, add the chopped herbs, shallots, etc.
All of the dressings / vinaigrettes will keep for several days up to a week in the fridge.
Creamy Mustard Yogurt Dressing
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
2 tbs whole grain mustard
1 tbs white Balsamic vinegar
1 tbs good olive oil
1 tbs fresh chives, chopped
1 tbs fresh basil, basil
Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
1 1/2 tbs honey
1 1/2 tbs course grain mustard
1 1/2 tbs lemon juice
4 tbs good olive oil
2 tbs ketchup
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1/4 tsp paprika
3 tbs good olive oil
Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
2 tbs Balsamic wine vinegar
5 tbs good olive oil
1 tbs fresh chives, chopped
1 tbs fresh basil, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
Oriental Vinaigrette (lo cal)
2 tbs brown sugar, unpacked
2 1/2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs parsley – dried or fresh
1 tbs water
2 tsp oil – sesame or walnut best
2 tsp soy sauce
Always add a bit of dressing to just the lettuce and toss very well to coat. Then add the rest of the ingredients and a bit more dressing. That helps to control the urge to use too much dressing.