Saturday, March 5, 2011

Spinach and Potato Salad with Chicken

This salad gets its original inspiration from the French Nicoise salad.  It is a salad of lettuce, tomato, potato, green beans, sardines, and tuna, served with a vinagrette dressing.  My family is not big on anchovies or tuna (I like tuna, but I'm the only one).  I decided to use chicken in the place of the seafood, and boost the nutritional value of the salad by subbing spinach for the lettuce.  The dressing also doubles as the marinade, cutting out a step from the original.  So here is my version of the salad....

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenderloins
1 10 ounce package fresh baby spinach, washed
8 red potatoes, quartered
8 ounces baby carrots
1 cup fresh green beans
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In small bowl, combine vinegar, oil, mustard, salt, pepper, and parsley.  Stir until well blended.  Place chicken in plastic bag or glass bowl.  Add half of vinagrette mixture to chicken and toss to coat.  Cover or seal chicken and marinade in refrigerator at least two hours (overnight would be great).  Cover reserved vinagrette and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Place potatoes in saucepan and add enough water to cover the potatoes by 2 inches.  Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 7-8 minutes.  Add carrots and green beans and cook another 3 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.  Immediately remove vegetables from boiling water and place in a bowl of ice water to stop cooking.

While vegetable are cooling, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Remove chicken from marinade and cook in skillet over medium heat until browned on both sides (about 10 minutes).  Remove from skillet, let cool slightly, and cut into large chunks.

Drain potatoes, green beans, and carrots.  Soak up excess moisture with paper towels.  Divide spinach evenly amongst 4 plates.  Divide green beans, potatoes, and carrots evenly amongst the four plates.  Top each salad with 1/4 of the tomatoes, 1/4 of the cheese, and 1/4 of the chicken.  Drizzle with reserved vinagrette dressing (DO NOT USE LEFTOVER MARINADE).

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