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I am a salad lover. I have always said that I have never met a salad I didn’t fall in love with! (Although I am sure there are probably some I might not like.) Salads are fabulous meals, especially in the summer months when the temperatures are rising.
I could actually eat salad three meals a day, especially when you are talking about as delicious a salad as this Crispy Chicken Salad is! Its fantastic!
What you have here is a delicious mix of salad greens, topped with a mix of fruit and vegetables. Spring and red onion. Cucumber, carrot. Radishes and sliced apple.
Add to that cubes of sharp cheddar cheese and sweet and tangy dried cranberries.
Now top it all off with scrumptious little bits of shredded chicken breast that have been coated in a spice mixture and fried until crispy golden brown.
And lets not forget the toasted cashew nuts. Have I captured your interest yet??? How about adding a drizzle of a lush sweet and tangy honey Dijon mustard dressing?
Combine all of those things and you have a salad made in heaven! Filled with plenty of taste, crunch and color! Its phenomenal, and its sized for just two. You can however double it to feed more.
Not only that but it is the perfect way to use up leftover cooked chicken, or you can cook chicken specifically to use in the salad. I like to poach mine, and if you freeze your chicken breasts singularly its not that hard to do it from frozen.
I do it all the time and haven’t killed myself yet. I either poach the whole lot and freeze it that way, or I freeze the breasts individually so that I can take one out at a time to use.
This makes perfect sense when you are a singleton like myself or a couple of empty nesters. You just take your chicken breast (and with this salad one breast is ample enough for two people) and pop it into a saucepan, cover it with water, or stock.
You can add a few peppercorns and a bit of salt if you want. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer for five minutes, then remove from the heat, cover and let sit until it cools down enough so that you can handle it.
Presto chango! Perfectly cooked, tender, juicy chicken breast meat. Ready to cube or shred and use in whatever dish you want to use it in.
I love, LOVE the dressing for this salad. It is a simple honey mustard vinaigrette and has only a few ingredients.
White wine vinegar, olive oil, honey, Dijon mustard and seasoning. That’s it. Whisked together and you have a scrumptious dressing that is sure to please.
It is so tasty that you may want to double it. Just a suggestion. Especially if you are making two salads.
Its always nice to have a bit extra to drizzle over the salad a bit later on if you need to.
Of course the star of this salad is that crispy chicken. Its such a simple make. You will need one cooked chicken breast, which you need to shred coarsely.
I just use two forks for that. You can have some big pieces and some smaller pieces, and maybe even some eensie teensie pieces. Nothing will be wasted.
You will be mixing a quantity of corn starch (corn flour) in a bowl along with some seasonings. Salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and onion powders. The chicken gets tossed in this and coated with it.
It is then fried in a tiny bit of hot oil in a skillet until it is golden brown and crispy. You may want to do it in batches. I did. That way you can control it a bit better and make sure every piece is perfectly crisp and golden brown.
Its so easy to do, I don’t know why I don’t do it more often! (Yes, I do, its very naughty. ðŸ˜‹ But very nice.)
That’s the hardest part of the salad, other than the chopping of the vegetables. I have julienned my vegetables because I like the way they look.
I like to do this by hand. You can use a mandolin if you want to, but for this small a quantity, a knife works just fine.
If your knifes are really sharp it doesn’t take long, and is very easy to do. I have never minded hand shredding vegetables. Its a kind of mindless job that you don’t really have to put a lot of thought into.
My mom always did her shredding by hand as well. Especially coleslaw. I like a thicker cut with coleslaw than you get with a grater. I do grate the carrot on a grater for coleslaw however.
This is a really nice mix of vegetables, giving you plenty of texture and color. That is what you want in a good salad. Plenty of texture and color. Never boring, and because all of the vegetables are julienned, none of it is hard to chew.
You should also never have to cut your salad with a knife and a fork. That always really irks me when I am in a restaurant and they serve me a salad with huge leaves that you need a knife and fork to cut.
There is a reason why you have a salad fork, not a salad knife and fork, its because you need to be able to eat your salad with just a fork. Everything should be bite sized for the most part.
I used a mix of baby salad greens today. Again, there was a variety of colors and textures. I love salad greens that come in a nice mix like that.
It makes salads much more interesting when you have some lettuces which are brilliantly green, and some read. Some frilly and some smooth. Some slightly bitter and some sweet.
I used a strong cheddar for this because that is what I had. I can tell you a gruyere or a swiss also work very well with the chicken and the fruit. Both have a nutty sweet flavor.
I have used toasted cashew nuts as well. Easy to toast. Just a few minutes on a tray in a hot oven does the trick beautifully.
Toasted pecan nuts would also be nice as would toasted pistachios. You could also add smoked roasted almonds, which would add another layer of flavor.
To be honest, I think crisp bacon bits would also be a nice addition and I had thought to add them, but forgot completely. That’s me! I get so excited when I am doing something like this, its a wonder I don’t forget more!
Anyways, this is a truly delicious salad. Perfect for a lunch or a light supper, especially if you add some garlic bread or crusty rolls. I am not sure how healthy it is with the fried chicken and the cheese, but meh!
Once in a while something like this really does the spirit good.
This was incredibly enjoyable. I highly recommend. I hope that you will be inspired to want to make one for yourself! Enjoy!
Crispy Chicken Salad
Author: Marie Rayner
Leftover cooked chicken is shredded and coated in a spice mixture before briefly frying to perfect crispness. It is then served on top of a delicious mix of greens, fruit, cheese and toasty nuts. With its honey mustard dressing, this is a pleaser all round!
For the crispy chicken
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 cooked chicken breast, shredded roughly
1 1/2 TBS cornstarch (cornflour)
1/4 tsp each of salt and black pepper
1/8 tsp each of garlic and onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika
For the salad:
3 cups of mixed salad greens
1/4 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 spring onion, trimmed and julienned
3 inch piece of cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and julienned
3 inch piece of carrot, peeled and julienned
2 radishes, trimmed and quartered
1/3 of a red pepper, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/4 red apple, unpeeled, seeded and cut into thin pieces (toss with a bit of lemon juice to keep from turning brown)
1 piece of sharp cheddar, the size of a matchbox, cut into small cubes
3 TBS dried cranberries
3 TBS roasted cashew nuts
For the dressing:
2 TBS olive oil
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 1/2 TBS runny honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
To make the dressing, whisk all of the ingredients together and set aside.
Divide the lettuce between two bowls.
Prepare all of your vegetables. Divide between two bowls, placing them in a decorative manner on top of the lettuce.
Scatter the cranberries, nuts and cheese over top.
Mix the cornstarch and all of the seasonings for the chicken in a bowl. Shred your chicken and toss it together with the cornstarch mixture to coat.
Heat the oil in a skillet until hot. Add the chicken and cook in the hot oil until crispy, turning it to make sure it all gets crisped. (You may need to do this in batches) Scoop out to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
Divide the crisp chicken between both salad bowls, placing it on top.
Whisk the dressing together again and then drizzle it over the salads, dividing it between both. Serve immediately!
This dressing is delicious. You may want to double it.
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