So here it is Saturday night...the husband is out celebrating a friend's birthday, my kiddos are in bed, and I'm going to get caught up on blog posts. I have
Anyway, I had a hankering for some Rick Bayless recently while working on my menu plan, and I came across this salad. I'm all about salad in the summer because it's so ridiculously hot here. I knew I couldn't go wrong with something from the Mexican Everyday cookbook, and I was surprised at how many salads were in there!
Grilled Chicken Salad with Rustic Guacamole, Romaine and Queso Anejo
Source: Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless
½ cup vegetable or olive oil, plus a little more for onion
4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (I like 2 serranos or 1 large jalapeno), stemmed and halved
½ cup fresh lime juice
¾ cup (loosely packed) cilantro, roughly chopped
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
GRILLED CHICKEN SALAD:
4 medium (about 1¼ pounds total) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 medium white onion, cut into ½-half-inch slices
2 ripe avocados
8 cups romaine hearts, sliced crosswise at ½-inch thick
1/3 cup grated Mexican queso anejo or other garnishing cheese (Romano or Parmesan)
Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and chiles; cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft and lightly browned (usually 1 to 2 minutes). Pour oil, garlic and chiles into blender jar or food processor. Add lime juice, cilantro, black pepper, and 1 scant teaspoon salt. Process garlic mixture until smooth.
Pour 1/3 of garlic mixture over chicken breasts, spreading it evenly over all sides.
Heat a grill pan or gas grill to medium to medium-high heat (or start a charcoal fire and let it burn until coals are medium hot and covered with white ash). Lightly brush or spray onion slices with oil; sprinkle with salt. Lay chicken and onion on grill pan or grill. Cook until chicken is just cooked through and onion is well browned (3 to 4 minutes on each side). Chop onion into small pieces and scoop into bowl. Set the chicken aside to cool.
Pit and peel avocados, scooping flesh into bowl with onion. Add another 1/3 of garlic mixture, then coarsely mash everything together with old-fashioned potato masher, large fork or back of spoon. Taste and season with salt (usually about ½ teaspoon).
Scoop the sliced romaine into large bowl. Drizzle on remaining 1/3 of garlic mixture and toss to combine. Divide between 4 dinner plates. Scoop a portion of guacamole into center of each plate. Cut each breast into cubes and arrange over guacamole. Sprinkle each plate with garnishing cheese. Serve.
I ended up doing mine a little differently. I had planned on making something different for dinner in the crockpot, but I realized it wasn't going to happen because I had forgotten to put what I needed into the crockpot. So I already had some cooked, shredded chicken on hand, so instead of grilling the chicken in the dressing, I just mixed some into my shredded chicken. I knew this wasn't something my kids would eat, so I only made half the guacamole called for. I loved using the dressing to flavor the guacamole, by the way.
The husband and I thought this was FANTASTIC. The dressing was fresh and spicy and wow! Having it on the chicken, mixed in the guacamole, and as dressing on the salad made sure that you always had some of its spicy kick on your bite. I will definitely make this salad again. Yum!