I recently spent an evening searching for recipes for the summer. I am crazy about cookbooks and one of my favorite ways to unwind or start the day is by reading through a stack of cooking magazines and a few of my cookbooks. I struck gold with this salad. The salad is great on it’s own, but the dressing pulls it all together. I was a bit ambivalent about the dressing, to be honest. Don’t hesitate to make it, it really is delicious. The original recipe calls for 4 jalapenos, but it really only needs one for flavor. One adds the perfect bite. Perfect for brunch or lunch, perfect for a light summer dinner, I added and subtracted a few things and adjusted quantities to make a truly memorable salad.
4 slices smoked bacon or turkey bacon
8 chicken tenders
Spices for chicken – Smokehouse rub, garlic powder, salt & pepper
2 heads of romaine lettuce
1/2 cup black beans, cooked fresh or canned, drained & rinsed
2 ripe avocados, cut in chunks
1 cup diced tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cucumber, quartered, seeded and sliced
1/2 medium red pepper, diced
1/2 cup corn, fresh removed from cob ( may use canned or frozen if fresh is unavailable)
1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
Place bacon on cookie sheet in 400 degree oven and cook until crisp, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Cut into small pieces. Let cool.
Wash chicken and pat dry. Season to taste. Drain part of the bacon grease from the cookie sheet, leaving a little. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over pan. Place chicken on pan and turn to coat with oil. Bake at 400 degrees until golden and no longer pink. Drain on paper towels, let cool, and slice.
While chicken is cooking, boil 2 ears of fresh corn, let cool and cut from cob in 1 inch pieces. Set aside.
Wash lettuce and drain on paper towels. Chop lettuce into bite-size pieces. Prepare salad ingredients: wash and dice the peppers and tomatoes (or cut cherry tomatoes in half), wash, peel and dice the avacados, shred the cheese. Drain and rinse beans (fresh or canned). Add all ingredients to the prepared lettuce and toss.
Prepare the dressing.
1 whole jalapeno, washed and seeded
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, washed well
In a blender or food processor puree the jalapeno with the oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Continue processing and add the mayonnaise, blending until emulsified. Add cilantro and blend until finely chopped.
Pass the dressing with the salad.
Adapted from The Gathering of Friends Cookbook, Volume Two.