Warm Panko-crusted Chicken salad

I’m totally backwards.  I post a cold chicken salad recipe as we’re still transitioning from Spring and a warm chicken salad recipe after it appears warmer days are here at last.   I also do things like make unseasonal cobbler in the middle of winter (using frozen fruit) but that’s another story.  

Also, I may have mentioned this theory before – that the more ingredients you list in a dish name, the fancier it sounds.  Chicken salad?  Meh.  Panko-crusted warm chicken salad?  Now I have your interest, don’t I?   What if I said Warm Panko-Crusted Chicken Salad with avacado and red-wine vinaigrette?   Salivating yet? 

I had some grilled chicken breasts I needed to use and had a hankering for greens.  But I wasn’t feelin’ the usual make green salad add cold chopped chicken – booooring.  So I made a green salad with baby greens, spinach, bellpeppers sliced into matchsticks (red and orange), cucumbers (I peeled the cucumber and scooped the seeds out and then sliced the hollow tube – I won’t tell you what J said the slices looked like but try it yourself and you tell me) and avacado (of course).  As for the chicken, I sliced the breasts fairly thin, dipped them in flour, egg then panko and pan fried til the outside was crispy.  This didn’t take long since the chicken was already cooked.  I then draped the slices artfully over the plate of greens and veggies and topped with a redwine vinaigrette (although a honey mustard dressing would be fab).  All of a sudden I turned a potentially ho-hum salad into something that could be served in a restaurant.  I almost took a picture, it looked so good.  Best thing though?  It took like only 20 minutes to make.  Suck on that, Rachel Ray you hack. 

There’s truly no large point to this post except to say panko makes everything better.  They’re the only breadcrumbs I’ll buy.  (If I need the dusty kind I make my own from leftover bits of bread I store in the freezer).  I really like panko because even oven baked stuff (often mistakeningly referred to as “over-fried,” a phrase I abhor) turns out nice and crispy.  You could totally make the chicken pieces in the oven.  Or use raw chicken breasts, slice thickly, coat in a red curry-yogurt mixture, then panko and bake and make some excellent chicken fingers.  Vegetarians could easily sub tofu or zucchini, which has that nice meaty texture.  

That’s it, I’ve got nothing else.  Oh, it’s Earth Day.  Happy Earf Day. 

(Tomorrow Today! is administrative professionals day, f/k/a secretary’s day.   Don’t forget to show your staff how much you love them!)  (My office is oberving admin day on Thursday, sorry for the mix-up!)

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