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!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Pan-Grilled Chicken Salads with Roasted-Tomato Vinaigrette

Grilled chicken salads are the perfect way to serve a flavorful, inviting dinner while keeping it fresh and light. Here, the big flavor boost is in the dressing. Sweet and smoky roasted tomatoes blended with fruity balsamic vinegar and a touch of Dijon give ordinary vinaigrette the mmmmm factor.

And the oven does all the work. Toss the tomatoes with a little oil and roast about 10 minutes to soften and draw out their natural sweetness. Grill the chicken tenders and prepare the other ingredients in the meantime, and this easy, tasty dinner is on the table in about 30 minutes.

Serves 4

  • 3 oz grape tomatoes
  • 2 tsp plus 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • 3/4 lb chicken tenders
  • 4 cups torn romaine lettuce
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2 large radishes, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 celery rib, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1/4 cup cashews (raw, unsalted, if preferred)
Salad Toppings
  1. Preheat the oven (or toaster oven) to 400° F.
  2. Place the tomatoes in a small, foil-lined baking pan and toss with 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil. Roast until very soft and the skin pops, 10-12 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a small food processor. Add 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, water, balsamic vinegar, and mustard and season with salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.
Tomatoes Ready to Roast 
Roasted Tomatoes
Ready to Process 
Roasted-Tomato Vinaigrette 
  1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and brush with oil. Season the chicken tenders with salt and pepper and grill until browned and just cooked through, 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. Cut into thin diagonal slices.
  2. Combine the romaine lettuce and spinach in a bowl. Toss with half the vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper.
Chicken Beginning to Grill
Grilled Chicken Strips
Sliced Chicken
Greens Tossed with Dressing
Divide the lettuce mixture among 4 plates. Top with chicken, radishes, celery, and cashews. Serve the remaining vinaigrette on the side.

Pan-Grilled Chicken Salads with Roasted-Tomato Vinaigrette

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