06.14.12 010

Strawberry Salad with Roasted Chicken, Toasted Pecans, Blue Cheese, and a Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe by “Oishii!”)

Nothing says summer like fresh strawberries. And I can’t seem to get enough of them this year. In addition to putting them in a variety of berry smoothies, I’ve recently baked a strawberry tart, and made several versions of this fantastic dinner salad. The honey enhances the flavor of the strawberries, which makes for a delicious contrast to the pungent blue cheese.

This recipe is inspired by Fine Cooking Magazine’s Spinach Salad with Chicken, Strawberries, Blue Cheese, and Almonds.

Ingredients
serves 2

  • 2 bone-in chicken breasts (about 2.4 pounds)
  • extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • kosher salt and freshly grated pepper to taste
  • dried thyme or oregano to taste (optional)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 3 teaspoons honey (divided)
  • 1 cup strawberries (stemmed, cored, and sliced)
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 4 ounces spinach (about 6 cups lightly packed)
  • 2 ounces blue cheese, sliced and crumbled (I recommend Rosenborg or Trader Joe’s brand)

Preparation

Roast the chicken. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a heavy-rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the chicken on the baking sheet skin side up. Drizzle chicken with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly grated pepper to taste, a little thyme or oregano (optional), and roast chicken in the oven until the skin is golden brown and crackling, about 40 minutes. The juices will run clear. Remove from oven and cool. Remove the skin and hand pull the breast meat off the bone. Set aside 1 cup of chicken for use in the salad and use the rest for another purpose.

Make the dressing. In a small bowl whisk together the balsamic vinegar, 1/3 cup of olive oil, dijon mustard, and 2 teaspoons of honey. (Note: there will be enough dressing for an additional 2 dinner salads.)

In a separate bowl toss the strawberries with remaining teaspoon of honey. Set aside.

Toast the pecans in a dry frying pan over medium heat a few minutes until fragrant. Cool and set aside in a small bowl.

Add the spinach, strawberries, 1 cup chicken breast, blue cheese, and pecans to a large mixing bowl. Add dressing by the tablespoon to taste and lightly toss the salad ingredients together. Plate the salads and season to taste with more kosher salt and freshly grated pepper if desired.

What’s oishii? “Oishii” (pronounced “oy she”) is the Japanese word for delicious. I love sharing great recipes I develop in my test kitchen. My inspiration comes from cooking magazines (Bon Appétit, Fine Cooking, Food & Wine), cookbooks, blogs, online food communities such as Chowhound.com, popular restaurants, tv shows, friends, and family.

Now it’s your turn. What are you doing with fresh strawberries? We would love to hear from you if you enjoyed this post. -Michael

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