Guys, it's Spring!! Officially! And while it might not exactly feel like it, depending on where you live, those lovely, flower and tree budding, longer-light days are coming!! And so in celebration of that, I thought we could do with something that highlights the soon-to-be-growing-all-around-us greens: this wonderful and unique arugula and radicchio salad mixed with warm, slightly sautéed fennel and topped with parmesan breaded chicken cutlets, all coated in a simple Dijon shallot vinaigrette. It's light, full of flavor and just perfect for ushering in the new season!!
I am generally a very borng salad maker and eater--like I could eat grilled chicken with a balsamic vinaigrette dressed arugula salad 5 out of 7 nights and be happy, but my family not so much. So I'm always on the lookout for ways to make the salad eating experience seem fresh and new. Here, the addition of some sautéed fennel adds both color and warmth to the peppery and pleasantly bitter arugula and radicchio. Do you know about fennel? It's got that slight licorice/anise thing going on. Sort of exotic but earthy at the same time. And here it cooks up in about 5 minutes, so there's very little effort involved.
Rounding everything out is a delightfully crunchy, warm, Parmesan-crusted chicken cutlet. Every bite is full of so much flavor and texture and will make you feel good too! The perfect meal in a bowl!!
Now if only all that snow would melt...
Warm Fennel, Arugula and Radicchio Salad with Chicken
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: About 1 hour (but a lot of this is hands-free time)
- 1/2 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- About 2 pounds of thinly sliced chicken cutlets (if you buy thick ones, slice them in half horizontally to get thinner ones)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8-10 tablespoons olive oil, divided (the original recipe calls for 6 tablespoons to cook the chicken in in two batches--I only used 4, so add accordingly if you need more)
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed of stalks, cut in half, cored and sliced thinly
- 1 box cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 small head radicchio, cored and sliced thinly
- 5 ounces baby arugula
1. You will need three shallow dishes. Place the flour in the first one, beat eggs in the second and mix the panko and Parmesan in the third one. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and assembly line style, working with one cutlet at a time, dredge the chicken first into the flour, then into the egg and then into the panko mixture, pressing to adhere the crumbs. Transfer to a plate.
2. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat until very hot. Cook 3-4 cutlets at a time, until chicken is entirely cooked through and golden brown, about 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Add 3 more tablespoons oil to the pan and repeat with remaining chicken.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, make the vinaigrette: Whisk together the vinegar, shallot, mustard a pinch of salt and pepper. Slowly add 3 tablespoons oil, whisking constantly. Set aside.
4. Once the chicken is done, pour out any remaining oil and wipe the pan clean with a paper towel (it's not necessary to wash the pan). Heat the last tablespoon oil in the pan over medium heat until very hot and then add the fennel. Cook for about 5 minutes, until softened and beginning to brown. Add to the vinaigrette and toss well.
5. Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Then add the tomatoes to the fennel. Place the arugula and radicchio in a large bowl and pour the fennel/tomato mixture over it. Toss gently. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Cut the chicken into thin strips and serve it atop the salad.
Note: Recipe adapted from One-Pan Wonders by Cooks Country. I toyed around a lot with this--make it your own!