This past Friday was the first official day of Summer! Salads are one of my favorite things to eat on hot days. Not that the weather’s been hot here in WA, in fact right now it’s pouring rain, but it was a beautiful weekend for the most part and that called for a yummy salad of some sort.
I had a bunch of cherry tomatoes (still have a bunch left) that needed to be used. Some great ideas were for using cherry tomatoes were being shared on my Facebook page, which made me all the more in the mood for those tiny red globes. This salad was thrown together very spontaneously and ingredients were being added as I went along. In the end the result was a salad with so many layers of flavors it will keep your taste buds entranced the whole meal through!
On the subject of salads, I’ll never forget the wild goose chase my husband were on one evening last Summer. I was experiencing a desperate craving for a good Cobb salad. It was date night and we set off for the restaurant. We arrived only to find that this particular restaurant had closed down. So we headed way across town to check out another location of the same restaurant only to find it had been taken over by a different chain altogether. My mounting frustration only served to escalate my need for a Cobb salad (yes, my husband is a very patient man), and I was determined to find a restaurant that served it! Well, it’s a good thing I had a lot of determination, because we ended up going from restaurant to restaurant (probably four more of them) before we finally found one that served Cobb salad! Seriously, you would think it would be a fairly standard menu item, wouldn’t you? The restaurant had a cheerful atmosphere full of friendly silver-haired people (we must have been the only patrons under the age of 60) and it was by golly one of the best Cobb salads I had ever had! The moral of this story: When it comes to salads (and many other things in life) determination and persistence pays off.
For today’s salad, chicken breast is marinated in a combination of herbs, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, then grilled and sliced, and served over a crispy bed of lettuce topped with blue cheese, sweet oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, and drizzled with a delicious champagne, Dijon, and herb vinaigrette.
You’ll enjoy the contrasting/complementing layers of flavor in this salad. I wanted to create a kind of culinary tug-of-war with all the players pulling equally to maintain a balanced equilibrium for the palate.
I presented this salad to Todd who, after taking a couple of bites, said “this is one of the best salads I’ve ever had.”
I’m confident you’ll agree.
So let’s get started!
Combine the balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and herbs. Whisk until it’s emulsified.
Place two 8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a plastic baggie and pour in the marinade. Let the chicken marinate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Lay the cherry tomatoes out on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Drizzle and coat with extra virgin olive oil.
Sprinkle with a touch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and roast for 10-15 minutes, or until the skins have collapsed and are just barely starting to brown.
While the cherry tomatoes are roasting, prepare the vinaigrette and the chicken.
Prepare the vinaigrette. See Champagne-Dijon Vinaigrette Recipe
Grill the chicken until done, regularly basting with the marinade.
Slice the chicken into strips about 1/4 inch thick.
Arrange the greens on the plates and lay the sliced chicken breasts on top. Divide the cherry tomatoes and arrange them on top of the greens.
Sprinkle with the blue cheese (or feta) and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Serve immediately.
- For the marinade:
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, thyme, or herb of your choice, chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 8 oz each
- ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese (feta also works well)
- 1 pint (about 2 cups) cherry tomatoes
- 1 head green leaf lettuce, chopped, or mixed greens
- Whisk the vinegar, olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper in a small bowl until emulsified.
- Place the chicken breasts in a plastic baggie and pour in the marinade. Marinate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- To roast the cherry tomatoes, place them on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over them and lightly sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast in an oven preheated to 400 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until the skins are collapsed and are just barely beginning to brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Grill the chicken until done, basting regularly with the marinade. Slice the chicken in slices about ¼ inch thick.
- Arrange the lettuce on two plates and place the sliced chicken breasts on top. Divide the cherry tomatoes and arrange them on top of the greens. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of blue cheese over each plate and drizzle with the Champagne Dijon Vinaigrette. Serve immediately.