Romaine Salad with Spicy Chicken & Warm Chipotle Vinaigrette

April 29, 2009 by andrea | Filed under Chicken, Mexican, Recipes, Salad.

Wow…this salad is good! The dressing is smoky, slightly sweet and slightly spicy with a nice tang from the balsamic vinegar. I love the combination of southwestern flavors: cilantro, chipotle, avocado, red onion, corn.

I used a mixture of baby romaine and regular romaine lettuces. Other good additions to the salad would be chopped red pepper, diced tomato or sliced green olives. Handy Hint: Since the recipe only calls for 1 chipotle chile, you can freeze the remaining chiles and sauce. I put a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet, then I place 1 or 2 chiles in a mound and spoon a little adobo sauce over them. Continue this with the remaining chiles then put the cookie sheet in the freezer. Once frozen, remove the little chipotle mounds from the wax paper and seal in a freezer baggy or plastic container. Keep frozen and thaw out what you need when a recipe calls for chipotle chiles.

Baby Romaine Salad with Spicy Chicken & Warm Chipotle Vinaigrette
-recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine

Serves four.

6 oz. baby romaine, washed and spun dry (about 8 loosely packed cups)
1/4 lb. iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced, washed and spun dry (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 chipotle chile (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce), chopped, plus 2 Tbs. adobo sauce
3 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. light brown sugar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. fine cornmeal (preferably white)
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1-1/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 small), cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick strips
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
1 ripe avocado, cut into 3/4-inch dice
1-1/2 cups cooked fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels (from about 2 ears)
1 lime, cut into quarters

Toss the romaine, iceberg, and half of the cilantro in a large bowl. In a blender or food processor, purée the chipotle chile and adobo sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar, and mustard. With the machine running, slowly pour in 1/2 cup of the oil. Transfer to a measuring cup; season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a shallow dish, mix the flour, cornmeal, chili powder, and cumin with 1-1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Season the chicken with 1 tsp. salt and then dredge in the flour mixture.

Heat 2 Tbs. of the remaining oil in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it’s shimmering, about 1 minute. Add half of the chicken strips, evenly spaced, and cook without touching for 2 min. Flip and cook until the strips are just cooked through and firm to the touch, 1 to 2 min. Transfer to a large plate lined with ­paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil, and cook the remaining strips in the same manner.

Discard the fat from the pan and wipe it clean with paper ­towels. Set the pan over low heat, add the vinaigrette, and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula, until warmed through, about 1 min. Return the vinaigrette to a liquid measuring cup and whisk to recombine.

Gently toss the greens with about 14 cup of the vinaigrette or enough to lightly coat. Portion among four plates and top with the chicken, onion, avocado, corn, and the remaining 1/4 cup cilantro. Drizzle with some of the remaining vinaigrette (you may not need it all) and serve with lime wedges on the side for squeezing over the salads.

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