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Family Table

Grilled chicken salad with rustic guacamole and romaine

August 26, 2009

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Serves 4

Another dish that can be made with leftovers - in this case grilled chicken - from Mexican restaurateur and author Rick Bayless. The chef suggests using a stovetop grill if there’s no chicken leftover, or substituting hot-smoked salmon. You can also add other greens to the romaine, such as frisee or watercress. Bayless gives instructions here for grilling chicken with a chili-lime coating.

DRESSING

1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, halved
2 serrano chili peppers
1 jalapeno pepper
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and black pepper, to taste
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
Olive oil (for brushing)
1 medium white onion, thickly sliced
2 ripe avocados
2 medium romaine hearts, sliced crosswise into thick ribbons
1/3 cup grated Mexican queso anejo or Parmesan

1. In a skillet, heat the oil, add the garlic, serrano chilies, and jalapeno. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes or until the garlic is lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a blender. Add the lime juice, cilantro, generous pinch of salt, and black pepper.

2. Pulse the mixture until smooth.

3. In a bowl, combine the chicken breasts with 1/3 of the chili mixture. Spread it all over the breasts.

4. Heat a charcoal or gas grill or stovetop grill. Make one hot side, one cooler side. Brush the olive oil on the onion slices; sprinkle with salt. Sear the chicken and onion on the hot side of the grill on both sides. Move them to the cooler side and continue cooking for 5 minutes (3 to 4 minutes for the onion) or until they are cooked through. If using a stovetop grill, cook the entire time over medium heat.

5. Set the onion and chicken aside to cool.

6. Pit the avocados, scoop out the flesh and transfer to a bowl. Add 1/3 of the chili mixture. Chop the grilled onion and add it to the avocado mixture. Use a potato-masher to mash the mixture together; taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like.

7. In a bowl, toss the lettuce with the remaining 1/3 of the chili mixture. Divide the lettuce among 4 large plates. Add guacamole to each one. Slice or dice the chicken and add some to each plate. Sprinkle with cheese. Adapted from “Mexican Everyday’’