Friday, March 19, 2010

Chicken, Pepper, and Green Bean Salad

I made this quite some time ago but have not been feeling well enough to roll myself out of bed, much less sit at a computer for a while to blog. My apologies!! This was a salad that I made with a main course and a side dish but this was so filling I think it really stands well on it's own. I have never been fond of oil or vinegar based dressings but this was just out of this world amazing! I love the combination of all the different flavors of peppers, lettuce, chicken, celery, onion, etc. The dressing really pulls everything together. The only modification that really sticks in my mind is that the directions originally called for setting the beans in cold water and adding them cold like that (I think to keep them nice and crisp), but they just didn't go well with the rest of the warmed salad. I have accounted for that change below but feel free to try the cold beans for yourself.

Chicken, Pepper and Green Bean Salad

2 large red bell peppers
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar w/a dash of sugar (or you can sub sherry vinegar)
1 tbsp chopped thyme
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp olive oil
3/4 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut lengthwise into strips
1 small red onion, sliced thin
2 celery stalks, sliced thin
10 oz mixed baby salad greens (or your choice)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and cut bell peppers lengthwise into strips. Remove seeds and ribs. Arrange peppers on a cookie sheet lined with foil and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast turning once, until the edges are blistered (about 40 minutes). Removed from oven and allow to cool then peel away loosened skins and set aside. This is pretty messy so you can buy raosted red pepper in the store .. but this was really worth the effort as it tasted fantastic!

Bring a sauce pan 3/4 full of water to a boil and add the green beans. Boil 5-7 minutes (timing depends on size) and drain. Set aside and keep warm. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, thyme, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and a grind of pepper for the dressing.

Brush a large, non-stick frying pan with olive oil and place over medium heat. Add the chicken a few pieces at a time, turning to cook until no longer opaque and cooked thoroughly. Add 2 tbsp of dressing mixture into skillet, mix well and continue to cook another 2 minutes. Let chicken stand in pan.

In a large bowl combine salad greens, 1 tbsp vinaigrette and toss to coat well. Add chicken, red peppers, pan juices and greens. Toss to coat well. For a nicer presentation you can place the greens on a large serving platter first, then toss the latter ingredients in the bowl with juices. Then, top the greens with that mixture.

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