This installment is dedicated to all of my stateside Southern friends. Rather, shall I say, This is dedicated to y'all.
Summer = Hot. Europe = No air conditioning. So cooking is generally out of the question. A leafy cool salad sounded good. I hauled out my Bøøk of Føød rifled through its battered pages looking for something delicious and new. (Mynd yü føød bøøks kånn bĕ prettï tâstí - 3 taco points if you can correctly guess that film reference!) The book is full of clippings from Chocolatier, Bon Apetite, Gourmet, local newspapers and other treasure-like findings. Luckily, I found one that I have been meaning to try for awhile, fried chicken salad with honey pecan vinaigrette. Sounds tasty, no?
And it is a nicely balanced dish. You've got salty crispy moist chicken on a bed of biting greens with mellow pecans and their crunchy touch all held together with a sweet but not cloyingly so dressing. If any one note goes missing the dish might just fall apart, like a mile long domino chain at state fair sabotaged by flying roadkill. Um, I mean, a house of cards. Yeah. Anyhoo..
The recipe says it makes enough for 6 main servings. As I am a singular entity and produce tends to get funky fast here. I pared it way down to an individual serving. I recommend making enough for left overs cause I think it would make a kick ass sandwich on a nice grainy roll or pita wrap the second day.
I am coming to the realization that I use recipes mainly as touching stones. The pictures and general guidelines seem to be enough to jump off of for most 'main course' type dishes, which we all know are mainly improvisational and 'to taste' anyhow. I think some other time I'd like to play around with grinding up some of the toasted pecans and using them in the coating for the chicken. Hmmm....Anyhow, here's the rach-ified version...
Soul Food Salad (serves one, with a moderate appetite)
(makes enough for many many salads. can be made a day ahead. refrigerate and rewhisk before using)
1/4 c. toasted pecan halves (toast some additional nuts for salad decoration)
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. veggie oil ( I used some random Swiss oil that had a little happy sign for use in salad dressings)
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
3 T. honey
1/8 c. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 T. salt
Toast pecan halves. Reserve some pecans for later. Combine all ingredients in blender and process til smooth.
1 large egg
1 sheet of left over matzah (the original recipe called for panko Japanese breadcrumbs. It seems like all of my recipes lately are calling for this. Is this some new sort of trend? A superior breadcrumb that pigeons will fight to the death for?
I found that the matzah was perfectly fine.
garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
1 chicken breast cut into medium sized tidbits
salad greens of choice, something earthy and with body
finely sliced red onion (optional)
grated cheddar (optional)
-Crush matzah into as small pieces as possible. I prefer to use a glass bottom to crush them with (I REALLY REALLY need that mortar and pestle!)
-Add seasonings to taste and a pinch of flour.
-In a separate bowl whisk egg.
-Meanwhile heat several tablespoons of oil in a heavy bottomed skillet on medium to medium high heat. Dip chicken into egg, then roll through breadcrumbs and fry in skillet til cooked through and golden brown.
-Using a slotted spoon transfer done chicken onto paper towels to drain.
Toss salad greens (cheddar and red onion optional) with small amount of the vinaigrette to coat and top with chicken and toasted pecan halves.
In case anyone is interested the tea is a home brew from my window sill of Grand Yunnan tea FOP, mixed with plenty of ice and oodles of sugar (I think the tea police will crack down on me soon, sorry Mr. Tips) topped off with a straw. Because what good is iced tea if you can't suck up the sugar in sporadic spurts with a straw? A useless travesty I tell you. Go enjoy your useful sweet-enough-to-rot-your-teeth tea. With a bendy straw.