This brilliantly colorful and healthful salad will be the shining star at your next gathering. Arranged on a cut glass platter or an oblong serving tray over a shallow bed of red and green leaf or crisp lettuce, this festive dish is just as much at home Summer picnics outdoors as it is gracing the table for the Winter holidays.
Feel free to add fancy cut vegetables and garnishes of your choice. Extra dressing may be kept in the center in a small bowl with ladle for extra servings.
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken chicken breasts
- 3/4 cup milk or buttermilk plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large red onion
- 1 jar marinated artichoke quarters or hearts
- 1/2 lb. marinated mushrooms (home or deli made)
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
- 1 bell pepper, cored and finely chopped
- 1/3 teaspoon dried oregano (more, if fresh)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon each black pepper, red pepper flakes
- 1/4 lb Italian salami (optional)
Preparing the Chicken:
- Place chicken into a zipper plastic bag or a plastic container with a tightly fitting lid. Combine buttermilk or milk with 1/2 teaspoon salt (buttermilk is preferred for chicken that is even more tender and piquant).
- Refrigerate chicken while marinating for 2 hours.
Preparing the Vinaigrette:
- In a blender or food processor, add red vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and peeled garlic. Process for 30 seconds and let sit for 5 minutes. This takes the “raw” edge off the garlic.
- Add oregano, basil and olive oil, red and black pepper and 2 or 3 marinated artichoke pieces. Process 1 minute or until smooth. Slice bell pepper; add to processor and chop for just a few seconds (large pieces of pepper should remain).
- Slice red onion into thin strips lengthwise. Combine with vinaigrette. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper, if needed.
Grilling the Chicken:
- Grill chicken over hot coals for 10 minutes, turning 90 degrees to make attractive cross-hatched grilling marks. Finish over indirect heat for another 5 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in center registers 165ºF.
- Remove and cut into strips. Arrange on a bed of crisp lettuce and surround with red ripe baby tomato halves, red onion slices, artichoke quarters, and marinated mushrooms. Slice salami into strips or roll up tightly into rolls; arrange attractively around chicken. Dress with vinaigrette.
Cooks Note: 1 bell pepper may be substituted by 1/4 cup Progresso Pepper Salad or sweet vinegar peppers. Serves 4-6, depending on how many other dishes are being served. This recipe may be doubled or tripled, etc.
Submitted by: CM