Saturday, May 14, 2011

Panzanella Salad with Chicken

I love bread, but really, who doesn't love bread?  This salad allows me to incorporate my love of bread and feel a little bit less guilty about it.  This Panzanella salad seriously is one of my favourite salads (close second is this simple Caesar Salad).  We added some chicken to make it a complete meal and adjusted the dressing.  The salad kept well and was delicious for lunch the next day.

Panzanella Salad with Chicken
Adapted from Ina Garten

Good olive oil
2 chicken breasts
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3 large pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3 large pieces
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 English cucumber, unpeeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 Roma tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
10 large basil leaves
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1/2 small loaf bread, cut into 1 inch thick slices (pieces should be about 2x2 inches in size)

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Place the cucumber, tomato, basil and capers in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss together. Set aside.
Cut the peppers into three large pieces and place them in a small bowl.  Sprinkle the peppers with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and some black pepper.  Put the peppers on a baking sheet and roast the peppers in the oven for 15 minutes.  Flip the peppers halfway through.  When the peppers are finished, let them cool slightly and then chop the peppers into 1 inch thick pieces.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium-sized non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Pound the chicken out in a  plastic bag with a mallet.  Season chicken breast with salt and pepper.  Add the chicken to the skillet.  Cook chicken on each side for about 5 minutes.  When the chicken is done, remove from the pan and after it cools slightly, cut the chicken into cubes.

Brush the pieces of bread with olive oil on both sides.  Place the bread on the baking sheet that you used for the peppers.  Switch the oven to broil and toast both sides of the bread.

Add the peppers, chicken, and bread to the bowl with the cucumbers and tomatoes.  Pour the prepared dressing over the salad and toss to coat.  Serve immediately

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