After over a month of testing out cookies, scones and muffins, I'm swinging the pendulum back the other way and finally returning to some healthy cooking and I can't think of a better way to do it than with this amazing Roast Chicken Salad with Charred Scallion Vinaigrette. It makes you feel so good!!
I have to confess that when it comes to salad, I’m kind of boring (hmmn..maybe it doesn't just apply to salads!!) Generally, I make the same one every night—baby arugula, dried cranberries, toasted slivered almonds, scallions (sometimes), freshly grated Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar and oil. It's a reliable standard and we all love it but this meal-in-a-bowl salad is definitely a welcome change and I love each and every unique and different component!
First off, there is freshly roasted chicken—so easy and so yummy (though in a pinch you could use rotisserie chicken to speed things up).
Then, there are homemade croutons!! Yup! And they are billions of times better than any you could buy ready-made and a snap to prepare. Basically, you just tear up pieces of fresh country bread, toss with oil, salt and pepper, spread out on a baking sheet and bake until golden and crispy. They add so much texture and flavor to this salad and are not to be missed!
Then, there’s the charred scallion vinaigrette which is loaded with flavor and is perfectly balanced between tanginess and creaminess. It definitely takes this salad out of the realm of ordinary!
And finally, there are the actual salad greens themselves. I used Boston lettuce and it’s so lovely and soft and gentle—I definitely need to include it more often. The same goes for radishes. Why do I always forget about them when they add so much color, crunch and flavor?!!
There was not a lot of talking when I served this for dinner. We gobbled it up and then sat around with contented, guilt-free smiles which gives me an inkling that I will be making this on a regular basis all summer. Never thought I’d say this, but I’m actually a little bit tired of eating cookies! Yikes! Have we entered an alternate universe?!!
Roast Chicken Salad with Charred Scallion Vinaigrette
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: About 30 minutes, plus the time to cook the chicken
For the roast chicken
- 2 pounds bone-in, skin on chicken breasts
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
For the croutons
- 5 ounces country-style bread or baguette, torn into small pieces
- 3 tablespoons olive oil,
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
For the vinaigrette
- Large bunch of scallions, finely chopped, separate whites from greens
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
For the Salad
- 1 head of Bibb lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried well (you could really use any kind of lettuce you prefer)
- 6 radishes, trimmed and sliced thinly
1. To make the roast chicken: Preheat oven to 375ºF. Place chicken skin-side down in a roasting pan and sprinkle on salt and pepper. Pour on some of the oil and then use a fork to turn over and smush around so that the spices and oil coat the chicken. Season the skin side of the chicken with the salt and pepper and the remaining oil. Roast for about 1 1/2 hours, until chicken is fully cooked through. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Remove skin and bones and discard. Chop or shred chicken and set aside. (You can do this a day ahead and keep chicken refrigerated).
2. To make the croutons: Preheat oven to 450º. Place bread on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 3 tablespoons oil and some salt and pepper. Spread out into an even layer and cook for 10-12 minutes, until bread is golden and crisp. Remove and set aside.
3. To make the vinaigrette: Place the whites in a large bowl and set aside. Heat a small skillet with 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add scallion greens and cook for about 5 minutes, until scallions are crisp and starting to blacken. Add to the bowl with the whites and then whisk in lemon juice, rice vinegar, mustard, mayo and a pinch of salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Pour half of the dressing into a small bowl.
4. To make the salad: Place the cut up chicken, radishes and croutons in a bowl and toss with the remaining dressing. Place the lettuce on a large plate. Top with the chicken salad and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Serve immediately.
Note: Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit Magazine. I tinkered around with ingredients and proportions.