Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mediterranean Arugula Salad with Green Olives, Farro, and Crispy Baked Chicken Strips

With a bunch of leftover olives after last week's tapenade, I ended up tossing together a salad mid-week that was worthy of recreating for the blog.  I love salty, briny olives, but discovered that these mild green olives were great for bulking up a salad without a salt overload.  Between the olives, farro, and chicken, the salad is hefty enough for a winter meal without feeling like a brick in your stomach.  

Another thing I really like about this salad is that it keeps well overnight.  Even after being dressed and tossed, it won't seem limp and soggy the next day.  So, it's great for premade lunches.  I even warmed it up in the microwave for just a bit and it tasted great transformed into a warm winter arugula salad.

I'll leave you with that, considering I have a final paper due Tuesday that I haven't even started.  Good luck to me. 
Ingredients for Baked Chicken:
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, fileted 
  • 1 cup panko break crumbs (you can use Italian bread crumbs and eliminate the next three ingredients)
  • 2 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten with a little water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Ingredients for Salad (makes 4 servings with chicken):
  • 5 oz. arugula
  • 1 cup farro, cooked and drained 
  • 6 oz. fresh cured green olives, halved (or "natural style)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. rice wine vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Filet the chicken breasts (I got three filets out of each breast).  Bread each in a succession of flour, egg, and the bread crumbs mixed with the parmesan, oregano, thyme, and salt.  Bake the breaded filets on a cookie sheet or baking pan for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.
Cook the farro for 10-15 minutes in 2 cups of boiling water, draining when it is al dente.  Set aside to cool.  In a blender, make the dressing by combining the garlic, basil, olive oil, vinegars and salt.
In a large bowl, toss the arugula, olives, cooled farro, and as much dressing as you prefer.  
When the chicken is done and cooled a bit, slice and fan across salad to serve.

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