Almond Crusted Chicken and Nectarine Salad

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You can never have too many summer salad recipes. When the weather is nearing 110°F in good old Topanga Canyon, I will be searching high and low for new salad combinations. While this one does require that you use your stove, the salad is still deliciously refreshing with the juicy seasonal nectarines and full-flavored buttermilk dressing. It feels like something I should be eating on a one of those giant wrap-around decks on an old Southern estate with a tall glass of iced tea. Ahhh…summer!

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Almond Crusted Chicken and Nectarine Salad (Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine) (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4)

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup organic unsweetened coconut milk, plus 1/2 tsp. organic distilled white vinegar (non-dairy buttermilk)
  • 1 Tbsp. full fat greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. white  balsamic vinegar (I only had regular balsamic on hand which tastes just as good, it will just make the dressing a different color)
  • 1/2 tsp. raw honey
  • 2 Tbsp. organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. minced organic parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chicken:

  • 1 large organic free range egg
  • 1 1/2 c. sliced almonds
  • 1/4 c. almond meal
  • 1 1/2 lb. organic free-range chicken tenderloins
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 Tbsp. canola or olive oil

Salad:

  • 8 oz. organic mixed greens
  • 3 ripe organic nectarines halved, pitted, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Make the dressing: In a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine the coconut milk, white vinegar, greek yogurt, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Slowly whisk in the oil to blend. Stir in the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Make the Chicken: Lightly beat the egg in a wide, shallow dish. Pulse the almonds and almond meal together in a food processor until the almonds are chopped; transfer the almond mixture to another wide, shallow dish. Season the chicken on all sides with 1 tsp. salt and 3/4 tsp. pepper. Dip one piece of chicken at a time in the eggs. Shake off the excess and dredge in the almond mixture, pressing lightly to help it adhere. Set aside on a wire rack.

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Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 2 Tbsp. of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering hot. Working in batches, cook the chicken until light golden brown on both sides and just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a foil lined baking sheet and finish cooking in the oven for an additional five minutes.  Between batches, remove any stray almonds from the pan and add more oil if necessary.

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Assemble the Salad: In a large bowl, toss the mixed greens and the nectarines with about half of the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide among 4 dinner plates. Divide the chicken among the plates, overlapping the pieces on top of the salad. Drizzle additional dressing over the chicken and serve.

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