It's not only time for Famous Fridays again, it's Day 5 of Healthy Week too, so choosing Curtis Stone to highlight today was a piece of cake (bakery pun intended!) This Australian-born chef, TV personality, restaurant owner and cookbook author of 6 books to date, focuses on simplicity and cooking with quality local and seasonal ingredients, something I'm realizing the true importance of more and more. There are recipes in Curtis' books where he tells you not to bother making the recipe unless you can get top-notch seasonal ingredients and I know just what he means. If you've ever been lucky enough to pick fresh strawberries or tomatoes or peaches, you know that there is no comparison to the supermarket versions--they barely have any flavor compared to the fresh-picked stuff. And speaking of flavor there is no lack of it in this amazing and gorgeous looking salad--it's a wonderful springtime treat for both the palatte and the eyes!!
Curtis' cookbooks are filled with so many great recipes, it was really hard to pick one to showcase and I know I will be making a lot of his creations in the future, but this salad, unsurprisingly caught my eye. To say that we LOVED it, is a major understatement. It's got all of our favorite foods, raspberries, mangoes, tomatoes, chicken tenders and something I've never cooked with before...BLACK SESAME SEEDS!!! (I know, it's pathetic how excited little things make me!!) They don't really taste any different than the regular ones, but boy what little eye-catchers these guys are and what a wonderful flavor they give to ordinary chicken.
Plus, I usually make salads dressed with balsamic or red wine vinegar based dressings, so the addition of both fresh raspberries and raspberry vinegar in the dressing, makes this a nice change of pace too.
Once the dressing is made, you season the chicken and then coat in the sesame seeds and saute it till done.
Meanwhile, you cut up your mango and toss it with the salad greens and tomatoes and a little of the raspberry vinaigrette.
Then, top the salad with the warm sesame chicken, some fresh raspberries and a little drizzle more of the dressing. Each bite is such a wonderful contrast of sweetness and acidity and the chicken has such a unique toasted flavor. This would be a wonderful salad to serve on a hot summer night!
So pick up the fixings for this salad and feel proud that you've made it through Healthy Week and are feeling lighter and better all over! And pick up a copy of one of Curtis' books, spend a little time in your kitchen and have a great weekend!!
Curtis' Sesame Chicken Salad with Mango, Raspberries and Cherry Tomatoes-Famous Fridays
Prep Time: 25 minutes; Cook Time: 20 minutes
For the Raspberry Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup fresh raspberries
- 1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
- 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Salad
- About 2 pounds chicken tenders
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2/3 cup sesame seeds, (best to mix black and white, but fine to use just white if you can't find the black ones)
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1 large bag mixed baby greens
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 large ripe mango, peeled, seeded and cut into little cubes
- additional fresh raspberries to top the salad
1. For the vinaigrette: Place the raspberries and the vinegar into a small bowl and using a whisk, mash the raspberries into the vinegar. Slowly add the grapeseed and olive oils, whisking well, until the mixture is fully blended. Then whisk in the chives and season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. For the salad: Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the sesame seeds in a large shallow bowl and coat the chicken with them. Place 1 tablespoons grapeseed oil into a large nonstick frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook for several minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and repeat the process with the second batch of chicken. Drain as well.
3. In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, tomatoes, and mango together and pour on some of the raspberry vinaigrette. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss again. Divide the salad among 4-5 dinner plates, top with the chicken tenders (you can leave them whole or cut them into slices) top with a few more raspberries and drizzle the remaining dressing over each salad individually. Serve immediately.
Note: Recipe adapted from Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone. I added more fresh raspberries and subbed out the baby spinach for mixed baby greens.