EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 19, 2013

Pecan Chicken makes salad a meal

Pat's Kitchen
Patricia Altomare

---- — With its crunchy topping and full flavor, this Crispy Pecan-Chicken Dinner Salad is sure to bring compliments. It’s perfect for a warm summer supper, or add the Baked Sweet Potato for a side dish for Sunday dinner. This recipe is a perfect example of taking simple ingredients such as chicken and lettuce, and turning it into a scrumptious entrée.

If you have planted a garden this year, you just need to go out to the backyard and pick some lettuce, a cucumber, a few radishes, and some green onions and start your supper salad with these as the base. The rest of us will shop or go to a local farm stand. However you get your salad items, they are so fresh at this time of year and you can’t beat the taste. I for one am in my glory with all the local fruit and vegetables at my fingertips right now.

Pecan Chicken Dinner Salad

Serves 4


4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast that have been pounded to a fairly even thickness.

2 egg whites

2 teaspoons cornstarch

Lemon, zested and juiced (save half juice for dressing)

1 cup coarse dry bread crumbs**

1 tablespoon fresh parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3/4 cup finely chopped pecans

1/2 teaspoon of each; dried oregano, dried thyme, paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Whisk egg whites, cornstarch, and half the lemon juice in shallow dish.

Combine bread crumbs, herbs, spices, pecans and zest in a second wide, shallow dish.

** In this recipe the bread crumbs take a front seat in creating a crouton-like crust on the chicken, not just a dry one. For the best flavor make your own crumbs by using Ciabatta bread, which is a rustic, chewy bread. Process bread cubes into crumbs and dry on a baking sheet for 10 minutes in a 200-degree oven. Freeze excess for later use.

Dip both sides of chicken into egg mixture, then pat crumbs on both sides of chicken until thickly coated — don’t be afraid to pile them high. Air-dry on a rack for 20 to 30 minutes.

Sauté chicken in 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat in an oven-proof skillet for about 3 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Carefully turn with a spatula. Transfer chicken to a preheated 450-degree oven to finish roasting chicken for about 8 more minutes.

Green Salad

8 cups mixed greens of your choice such as endive, romaine, radicchio, red lettuce, bibb lettuce, etc.

1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced

3 radishes, thinly sliced

1 cucumber, halved and sliced

Few green onions, cut in pieces.

4 ounces mild goat cheese, crumbled

Honey-mustard dressing

1/4 cup honey

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Juice of half a lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all dressing ingredients. Mix all salad ingredients and toss with some of the honey-mustard dressing. Arrange greens on four plates. Top with the chicken that has been cut on a bias and fanned out a little. Sprinkle any toasted crumbs left in the pan on the salads. Serve with extra dressing on the side.

Note: Making the dressing and bread crumbs a couple of days ahead will be a time-saver.

Baked Sweet Potato with Maple Sour Cream

Bake 4 sweet potatoes that have been scrubbed and pierced in a 450-degree oven for 45 minutes (best flavor) or in microwave for 7 to 8 minutes.

For topping, mix 1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt with 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup and 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice.

Patricia Altomare invites feedback. Email her at patakitchen@yahoo.com.