Chicken, berry, date & candied walnut salad
This is one of my salad-for-dinner recipes. In other words, a salad that is substantial enough to serve for dinner. It is fresh, savory, sweet and satisfying.
Salt and pepper candied walnuts
The candied walnuts are hard to stop nibbling on. I recommend you double the amount of walnuts as they will disappear before you can put them in the salad. They are also a nice addition to a cheese plate. The walnuts can be made a couple days in advance.
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This salad is a nice way to make a second meal out of leftover roast chicken. Or you can use a grocery store roast chicken if you don't have leftovers. The trick to grocery store chickens is to remove the meat from the chicken as soon as you get it home. The meat will slip off while the chicken is still warm.
Quick to assemble
This is a great mid-week meal, particularly if you have the foresight to make the walnuts in advance. If you have the walnuts pre-made and the chicken cooked, you can assemble this salad in minutes.
- 1 cup walnut halves
- ¼ cup sugar, divided
- ¼ t fresh ground pepper
- ½ t salt
- 1 shallot, finely minced ( about 2 T)
- 1½ T balsamic vinegar
- 1 T Spanish sherry vinegar (Vinagre de Jerez)
- ½ t honey
- 6 T olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ head butter lettuce
- ½ head red curly lettuce
- 2 cups strawberries, sliced
- 4 ounces blueberries
- 2 cups shredded roast chicken
- ½ cup chopped medjool dates
- 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- To make candied walnuts, heat a skillet over medium heat and briefly toast walnuts until they begin to color, stirring frequently so they do not burn. Sprinkle the walnuts with half the sugar, and stir until the sugar has melted. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and remaining sugar, and continue stirring. The pepper will smoke, so make sure your exhaust fan is on. Continue stirring until all the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and spread out on a sheet of tinfoil, making sure all the walnuts are separated. Allow to cool.
- To make the dressing, put the shallots, vinegars and honey in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to form an emulsion. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Build the salad in a wide shallow bowl. Spread the lettuces over the bottom of the bowl. Arrange the strawberries, berries, chicken, dates, candied walnuts and feta over the lettuce. Toss with dressing and serve.