Sunday, March 3, 2013

Chopped Salad

Its finally March.  The weather might be just as erratic (and presently, cold) in Chicago as it was in February, but at least I feel like spring is right around the corner.  While spring break is still three weeks away, there's already lots of newness around: Garrett and I will go to our first wedding of the "season" next weekend in Michigan, we now have a late-summer trip to Morocco and Portugal booked, and best of all, I got to meet my coworker's adorable new baby, Brynn, on Saturday.

Another sign of spring is the first hankering you get for a salad.  Sure, you eat them in winter occasionally because you should, but some time in March and April you start wanting them.  This chopped salad is a nice one for between seasons because its pretty hearty.  It follows all the simple salad rules - a meal in-and-of itself that has a variety of toppings as to make dressing unnecessary.  

If you're not quite ready yet, by all means boil yourself a box of pasta or make that chili.  The post is here when you need it.
Ingredients (makes 4-5 servings):
  • 3 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • 1/4 lb. thick cut bacon (about 4 slices), diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 3 roma tomatoes, large dice
  • 3 ears of corn
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper 
  • 1 head of green cabbage*
  • 1 small head of romaine lettuce

Heat a large frying pan over high heat and cook the bacon until very crispy.  While the bacon cooks, trim, salt, and pepper the chicken breasts.  Remove the bacon from the rendered fat and place on a paper towel to drain.  You can pour the fat out of the pan, just leaving whatever coats the bottom to sear both sides of the chicken breasts (about 4 minutes each side).  When chicken is browned, add the stock and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes.  
Meanwhile, lightly oil, salt, and pepper the ears of corn.  Roast them on a grill pan, turning regularly, until browned enough for you.  
Dice the tomatoes, scallions, and avocado.  Toss the diced avocado in the lemon juice.  Chop the cabbage and romaine to the size you prefer.  Rinse and drain.  
When the chicken is ready, let it rest and cool until you can easily handle it.  Remove the corn from the grill pan and cut off the kernels from the cob.  Dice the chicken.

Combine all the ingredients and toss.  The juice from the chicken and tomato, and the consistency of the avocado, should coat the salad.  
*Oh, cabbage is weird for a chopped salad?  I agree.  So what if I accidentally grabbed a cabbage instead of a head of iceberg lettuce.  It actually was quite nice.

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