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Fried Chicken Salad

Topped with bite-size pieces of crispy fried chicken, this salad becomes a satisfying one-dish meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. honey Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder (optional)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large bite-size pieces
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, pale inner leaves only, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 large tomato, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1 small red onion, halved and cut into thin slivers
  • 1 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Make the vinaigrette
In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar and 1 tsp. of the salt. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until smooth.

Fry the chicken
Preheat an oven to 200°F. In a deep, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over high heat, pour in canola oil to a depth of 1/2 inch. Line a large baking sheet with a double layer of newspaper and place in the oven.

In a large resealable bag, combine the flour, the remaining 1 1/2 tsp. salt, the pepper and the garlic powder. Pour the buttermilk into a shallow bowl. When the oil reaches 360°F on a deep-frying thermometer, dip the chicken pieces in the buttermilk. Remove the chicken, letting any excess drip back into the bowl, and place in the flour. Seal the bag and toss until the chicken is evenly coated. Using tongs, add half of the chicken to the hot oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden and opaque throughout, 2 to 4 minutes. Using the tongs, transfer the chicken to the lined baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Let the oil return to 360°F before frying the second batch.

Assemble the salad
Add the lettuce, tomato, onion and pecans to the vinaigrette and toss to coat evenly. Arrange on individual plates, top with the chicken and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Salad, by Brigit L. Binns (Oxmoor House, 2007).