Food & Dining

Grilled Greek Salad: Chicken salad without the fuss

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J.M. Hirsch shares hisgrilled Greek chicken salad recipe as a blueprint. Use it 'as inspiration, a guide for making good salad choices. Substitute, modify, amplify,' he says.

Salad recipes that have fussy lists of ingredients generally irritate me.

I don’t doubt that they are delicious, nor that assembling them just so with just the right blend of flavors and textures makes for a transformative salad experience. It’s simply that my life doesn’t allow for such fuss. To me, the very nature of a salad should be that it brings together whatever is fresh and delicious and marries it all with some oil and acid. Particulars beyond that don’t much matter.

So I give you my recipe for grilled Greek salad. I use the term “recipe” loosely, for you should use this merely as inspiration, a guide for making good salad choices. Substitute, modify, amplify.

The chicken, for example, is easily replaced with thinly sliced steak. Or turkey tenderloin. Or small cubes of lamb. Or salmon. Don’t have Boston lettuce? Use anything frilly and green. Or even something not so frilly. Heck, use a bed of finely chopped steamed and cooled broccoli if that’s what you have. And substitute at will for the veggies I call for. I like them grilled, but don’t feel compelled. Want something bready? Grill some and add as croutons.

My only request? Don’t use bottled dressing. Make it. Homemade vinaigrette tastes better, is better for you, and makes you a better person. And use your hands when dressing the greens with it. You’ll get much better coverage, making for a much better salad.

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Grilled Greek Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil

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Juice of 1 lemon

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2 cloves garlic, minced

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2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

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Kosher salt and ground black pepper

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1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips

— — —

2 large red bell peppers, cored and cut into 1/2-inch strips

— — —

2 ears corn, husked

— — —

2 heads Boston lettuce, roughly chopped

— — —

1/2 small red onion, diced

— — —

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

— — —

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Heat a grill to high.

In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a generous amount of pepper. Whisk well. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the dressing to a medium bowl. Add the chicken to the smaller bowl, toss well to coat, then set aside.

Place the bell peppers in the larger bowl and toss to coat with the remaining dressing, then transfer the peppers to a plate. Roll the ears of corn in the dressing, then set them on the plate with the peppers.

Set the peppers and corn on the grill. Lower the heat to medium and cook, turning often, until lightly seared and the peppers just start to turn tender, about 3 to 6 minutes. Return to the plate and set aside. Add the chicken to the grill and cook for 4 minutes per side. Transfer to the plate with the vegetables.

Add the lettuce to the large bowl and use your hands to toss it with the dressing, carefully coating each leaf with the vinaigrette. Divide the greens between 4 serving plates, then top each with some of the peppers and chicken. Divide the red onion and mint between the plates.

Stand each ear of corn on its wide end then cut off the kernels by sawing a knife carefully down the sides. Divide the kernels between the salads, then top with feta cheese. Serve immediately.

(J. M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at http://www.LunchBoxBlues.com.)




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