Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Grilled Chicken Salad with Warm Maple-Bacon Dressing

The key to making an inviting, satisfying main-course salad is balancing a variety of tastes and textures. You don’t need a lot of ingredients—just a good mix of flavors, such as savory, sweet, salty, chewy, and crunchy.

Here, lean, pan-grilled chicken pairs with fresh mixed greens, sweet and chewy dried cranberries, crunchy carrots and cashews, and a salty touch of pumpkin seeds and feta cheese. It all adds up to multiple flavors and texture in every bite.

And then there’s the dressing, which brings its own layer of flavor to the salad. Smoky bacon and sweet, silky maple syrup just go together, don’t they? A little shallot and Dijon mustard, olive oil, and red wine vinegar—that’s it.

Serves 2


For the Salad
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken tenders, pounded to even thickness
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 packed cups mixed greens
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced peeled carrot
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup toasted cashews
  • 3 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp salted pepitas (small pumpkin seeds—choose unsalted, if preferred)
Lettuce Greens 
Salad Ingredients
For the Dressing
  • 2 slices bacon, halved crosswise
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Dressing Ingredients

For the Salad
  1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and brush with oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and grill until just cooked through, 5-7 minutes per side, depending on thickness.
  2. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool 5 minutes. Cut on the diagonal into thin slices.
Chicken Beginning to Grill
Grilled Chicken 
Sliced Chicken
  1. Combine the mixed greens and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons of the dressing (recipe follows).
Salad Ready for Dressing
To serve, divide the salad mixture between 2 plates. Arrange grilled chicken slices on top of each and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Crumble the cooked bacon on top.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Warm Maple-Bacon Dressing
For the Dressing
  1. Fry the bacon in a small skillet over medium heat until beginning to crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  2. Pour all but 1 1/2 tablespoons of fat from the skillet. Add the garlic and shallot and cook, stirring to prevent burning, 1 minute.
  3. Whisk in the maple syrup, vinegar, and mustard, stirring 1 minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Garlic and Shallot 
Warmed Dressing

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