Thursday, March 3, 2011

"Fried" Chicken and Strawberry Salad

Last night, as I was trying to come up with something for dinner, I came across this recipe from The Healthy Irishman, Gavan Murphy. I was in the mood for salad and something kinda on the lighter side. I know what you're thinking...fried chicken is light?? Well when you get it from Zaxby's and drench it in their sauce made from baby's laughter and rainbows then no, it isn't light. This recipe however is baked instead of fried and the crust has such a nice light texture and flavor. I changed his recipe up just a little bit to suit my tastes. It is not 100% paleo but it is gluten, dairy and soy free and it's a breeze to make. As a side note, my sweet husband told me it was one of the best dishes I've ever cooked for him.

Ingredients for "Fried" Chicken:
4 chicken breasts
2 cups gluten-free breadcrumbs, I used Glutino brand from Whole Foods (unavailable at Publix)
3 egg whites, whisked for one minute to lighten
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
grapeseed oil spray

Preheat oven to 425.

Combine breadcrumbs, paprika, sea salt and pepper in a medium bowl and mix well with a fork.

Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise.

Dip the chicken breasts in the eggs and then dredge them in the breadcrumbs until all sides are covered. With a clean hand make sure to pat the breadcrumbs into the chicken so they stick.

Place on baking sheet lined with tin foil.

Spray the breaded chicken breasts with grapeseed oil. You can also use olive oil spray, I just had grapeseed oil spray on hand.

Bake for 20 minutes. I baked mine last night for 25 to 30 and I feel they were a tad to dry. So check the internal temperature at 20 minutes and cook longer if needed. Internal temp should be 165.

Feel free to experiment with different spices for the breadcrumb crust. Add a little cayenne or red pepper flakes for some heat or some oregano and thyme for an Italian flair. I also just recently purchased Herbes de Provence and they have such a wonderful flavor and aroma I think they would be lovely in this dish. While the dish tasted fabulous with above ingredients, consider it a template and get creative.

Ingredients for Strawberry Salad:
Strawberries, washed and sliced
Mixed Greens
Walnuts, sauteed in a hot dry pan until golden brown

Mix ingredients in a large bowl and top with dressing.

Ingredients for Strawberry Salad Dressing:
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar (if you don't have aged, regular will do just fine)
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 to 2 tsp agave nectar or honey (I used one teaspoon because I prefer tangy, but if you like sweeter add an extra teaspoon)
pinch or two of sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well mixed. You can also throw all of the ingredients into a cup with a lid and give it a good shake.

Another ingredient I LOVE to add to the balsamic vinaigrette is thyme. Add a teaspoon at a time to the above mixture until you are satisfied with the taste. Thyme has such a wonderful savory and slightly spicy flavor profile and gives the dressing an added punch of flavor.

For presentation purposes I heaped the salad mixture on a plate and then sliced my chicken breasts on a bias and placed on top of the greens. This also makes it convenient for whomever is eating it as they won't have to cut up their own chicken.  The camera on my phone isn't working so I didn't take a picture, but here are a couple of shots of Gavan's completed dish.

{As you can see, he used a variety of cuts of the chicken.  Always an option but I prefer white meat.}

{Images via Gavan Murphy}

I was very happy with the way the dish turned out and will definitely be getting some more inspiration from The Healthy Irishman.

Hope you enjoy!

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