My daughter Ali is an enthusiastic, aproned artist in the kitchen, and is all about putting love on the table. She called the other day to say that while at play she’d created a salad she thought I’d like. I’ve been impatiently waiting for my appetite to return because (even while sick) the sounds of this salad set off sweet harmonies and the songs of birds in my head! : ) Last night I was finally able to make it, and once again, the birds did sing!
Ali’s Champange Summer Salad with Chicken, Peaches and Avocado
(serves 4 generously)
- 2 quarts (8 cups) salad greens – (a salad mix, with some of the spicier, more peppery greens is great – or arugula)
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cooked and sliced (see preparation options below)
- 2 firm-ripe peaches, medium-thinly sliced
- 1 avocado, cut in chunks or thinly sliced
- 5 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup pepitas (optional)
- 1 – 2 Tablespoons Lemon Verbena minced (very optional, but wonderful if you have it)
Champagne Vinaigrette Ingredients
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup champagne vinegar
- 1-1/2 cups canola oil
Options for the Chicken
- Quick & Easy – Preheat oven to 350°F. Place breasts on rimmed cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup. Brush both sides of chicken with olive oil and generously sprinkle with coarse salt and a little pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes (depending on size and thickness, or until chicken registers 160°F on and instant-read thermometer.) Allow chicken to cool to room temperature. Just before combining with other ingredients, slice diagonally across the grain in 1/2-inch slices.
- Slow & Scrumptious – Marinating the chicken before cooking using the following marinade (good also for shrimp or any white fish) and then preparing in the oven or on the grill will add more juicy flavor to your chicken.
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 t. dijon mustard
1 shallot, minced
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1 t. kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
Combine all marinade ingredients in a gallon-size zipped plastic bag. Pound chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic until uniform thickness, around 1/2-inch. Marinate refrigerated for 4 to 24 hours. (Even after several hours, there is plenty of good flavor.) Grill or cook using any method you prefer until internal temperature reaches 160°F. (See #1.)
This makes a LOT of dressing, and you certainly won’t need it all for this salad. But it IS very delicious and if you look, you’ll have no trouble finding other places to use it during the next week or so. (Virtually any combination of greens and fresh summer fruits would likely do very well dressed in this. That being said, you could easily halve this recipe and still have leftovers.) This could well be a dressing you’ll go to again and again. ( It can keep quite well for a week or so refrigerated.)
In a medium bowl combine all ingredients except the oil. Using a whisk, gradually add the oil in a thin, steady stream until creamy.