Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad

I found this dish at Friday's and it instantly became one of my favorite salads. Here's the version I make at home.

1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders*
1 bag of crushed pecans
1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan
2 eggs
Seasoning Salt

For the salad:
Romaine and/or spinach leaves
Diced tomatoes
Dried Cranberries
Sunflower seeds
Crumbled Blue Cheese**

  1. Beat the two eggs with 1 teaspoon of seasoning salt. Add chicken tenders to the eggs and stir to coat the chicken. Set aside.
  2. Place 1/2 cup of Parmesan in food processor with the crushed pecans. Pulse the combination until the pecans and Parmesan are crumbled. This should not take long. The pecans should still have some chunks that are a larger than bread crumbs.
  3. Pour the pecan coating onto a plate. Add a little bit of salt for flavor.
  4. Heat some (just enough to coat the bottom of the pan) olive oil on medium heat in a skillet. Or, you can set the oven to 350 degrees and bake.
  5. Coat the chicken tenders with the pecan mixture.
  6. If frying, be careful not to burn the pecans. Turn heat down if they are getting browned too quickly. Place on a paper towel as they come out of the oil. If baking, place a cookie rack on a sheet pan and then place the tenders on top. Bake until done.
  7. In salad bowl, layer romaine/spinach, tomatoes, cranberries, sunflower seeds and then the blue cheese. When the chicken is done, arrange on top of the salad and serve.
*You can use chicken breasts for this. I normally do, but the tenders were on sale! Before placing the chicken in the egg mixture, cut the breasts in half. Coat and then cook. After the chicken has rested 10 minutes, slice each breast and arrange over the salad.

**I subbed Parmesan for the blue cheese and it works well. Blue cheese is still my favorite though!

As for the dressing, a balsamic vinaigrette is the best. I did have a berry vinaigrette and it complemented the meal very well. The hubby had an Asian ginger dressing and loved it. I don't think this would go well with a ranch or blue cheese as they are very heavy. But then again, I don't really like ranch or blue cheese dressing and may not be the best person to judge that!

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