23 Dec Special of the Day: A Seasonal Salad to Celebrate
- When in doubt, keep it simple, I say, especially after the hubbub of holiday prep has had us hustling and bustling around like crazy. Sometimes it’s something simple and satisfying that’s calling your name, and this week’s Special of the Day gives you a seasonal salad to celebrate, all dressed up in red and green and bursting with flavor.
- Starring such seasonal produce as winter pears and pomegranate seeds perfectly paired with pungent blue cheese, candied walnuts and herb-crusted chicken, you’re sure to love layer after layer of deliciousness in this all-in-one entrée salad.
Take advantage of a few do ahead tips and set yourself up for seasonal salad-making success this week by:
1. Carving out a bit of time to bake the herb-crusted chicken in advance.
2. Shaking up the dressing ahead of time.
3. Washing, drying and chilling the butter lettuce.
4. Candying the walnuts.
5. Seeding the pomegranate:
Seeding a pomegranate under cold water will minimize the mess. Fill a large mixing bowl half full of cold water. Cut pomegranate in half. Take one half and submerge it under the water.
Flip the peel of the pomegranate inside out to release seeds and use your fingers, working underwater to separate the seeds from the pulp. Seeds sink to the bottom, pulp floats to the top, and squirting juices end up contained in the bowl of water and not all over your kitchen and yourself.
Skim pulp off the top of the water and drain pomegranates into a colander in the sink to remove any remaining pulp.
Then, all’s that’s left to do is toss, plate and serve.
Sending you my best wishes for a very Merry Christmas in this week’s Special of the Day: A Seasonal Salad to Celebrate. Enjoy!
A Seasonal Salad to Celebrate
Recipe by Sydne George
Make the Herb-crusted Chicken
(Can be made ahead.)
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tbsp. real mayonnaise
½ tsp. Kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. fresh tarragon, minced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine salt, pepper and tarragon in shallow dish.
Place chicken breast and mayonnaise in sealable sandwich bag. Seal closed and work mayonnaise around until entire outside of chicken breast is coated.
Remove chicken breast from bag and transfer to shallow dish. Coat both sides of chicken with herb mixture.
Butter a shallow baking dish and transfer chicken to prepared dish.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Then wrap tightly and refrigerate until ready to use. (Bake more than one chicken breast and have on hand in the refrigerator to use in sandwiches or a quick pasta dish.)
Shake up the dressing
Combine in a jar:
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. heavy cream
1/8 tsp. salt
¾ tsp. honey
Cover jar and shake until well mixed.
Make the candied walnuts
Heat 1/4 cup sugar in a small sauté pan over medium heat until it melts.
Sprinkle ¼ cup walnuts over melted sugar and stir to coat.
Remove from pan and transfer to parchment to cool.
Toss the salad
2 cups butter lettuce leaves, washed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
½ cup blue cheese, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 small pear, cored, and cut into small cubes
½ cup pomegranate arils
½ cup herb-crusted chicken, cut into thin cubes
Toss salad ingredients in medium bowl with dressing until thoroughly mixed.
Top with candied walnuts and serve.
Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the Day” are archived at sydnegeorge.com.